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E. H. WARMINGTON, m.a., f.r.hist.soc. 

rT. E. PaJE, C.H., LITT.D. jE. CAPPS, ph.d., ll.d. 

rW. H. D. ROUSE, Lirr.D. L. A. POST, l.h.d. 
















Firstprinled 1933 
Repnnted 1951, 1956, 1961. 





Printed in Great Brilain 





Subject of De Nahira Deorum . 

. vii 

Post-Aristotelian philosophy . 

. vii 

Epicurean theology . , . . . 


Stoic theology ...... 


Academic scepticisni . . . . 


Cicero's work in philosophy 


Date of composition of De Naiura Deorun 


De Natura Deorum unfinished . 


Summary of De Natura Deorum . « 


Dramaiis personae . . . . . 


Supposed date of the dialogue 


Sources of De Natura Deorum . 


MSS. of De Natura Deorum 



. xviii 


. xxi 




. 122 


. 286 


. 384 





Introductiox — 


Dates of composition and revision , 

. 399 

Suh] ect of Acadeynica 

. 400 

Dramatis personae 

. 402 

Imaginary date of the dialoguc 

. 403 

Sources of Academica 

. 404 

MSS. of Academica 

. 405 


. 405 

Dedicatory Letter . 

. 406 

BooK I 

. 410 


. 464 

Index , . c . . . 

. 660 



SuBJECT. — In De Natura Deorum Cicero put before 
Roman readers the theological views of the three 
schools of philosophy that were of chief importance 
in his day and in the two preceding centuries, the 
Epicurean, the Stoic, and the Academic. 

Post-Aristotelian Philosophy. — In spite of the 
strong antagonism between the Epicureans and the 
Stoics, their doctrines had features in common which 
indeed characterized all the thought of the period. 
From Aristotle onward Greek philosophy became 
systematic ; it fell into three recognized departments, 
Logic, Physics.and Ethics,answering the three funda- 
mental questions of the human mind : (1) How do I 
know the world ? (2) What is the nature of the world ? 
(3) The world being what it is, how am I to live in it 
so as to secure happiness ? And in answer to these 
questions the Stoics and the Epicureans were agreed 

(1) that the senses are the sole source of knowledge, 

(2) that matter is the sole reahty, and (3) that happi- 
ness depends on peace of mind, undisturbed by pas- 
sions, fears,and desires. But the ethical systems that 
they based on these first principles were fundamen- 



tally opposed ; for Epiciirus taught that peace of mind 
is won by Uberating the will from nature's law, the 
Stoics that it comes by submitting to it. Moreover, 
though both were materiahstic, in their detailed 
systems of nature they differed ^videly. 

Epicurean Theology. — With both schools aUke, 
Theology fell under the second department of philo- 
sophy, Physics. But wlth Epicurus it was only an 
appendix to his main theory of nature. This he based 
upon the atomism of Democritus, holding that the 
real universe consists in innumerable atoms of matter 
moving by the force of gravity through an infinity of 
empty space. Our world and all its contents, and 
also innumerable other worlds, are temporary clusters 
of atoms fortuitously collected together in the void ; 
they are constantly forming and constantly dissolving, 
vvithout plan or purpose. There are gods, because 
all men believe in them and some men have seen them, 
and all sensations are true, and so are all beliefs if 
uncontradicted by sensations. The gods (like every- 
thing else) consist of fortuitous clusters of atoms, and 
our perceptions of them (as of everything else) are 
caused by atomic films floating off from the surface of 
their forms and impinging on the atoms of our minds. 
But it is impious to fancy that the gods are burdened 
with the labour of upholding or guiding the universe ; 
the worlds go on of themselves, by purely mechanical 
causation ; the gods hve a Hfe of undisturbed bhss in 
the intermundia, the empty regions of space between 
the worlds. 

Stoic Theology. — The Stoics, on the contrary, held 
that the universe is controlled by God, and in the last 
resort is God. The sole ultimate reahty is the divine 
Mind, which expresses itself in the world-process. 


But only matter exists, for only matter can act and 
be acted upon ; mind therefore is matter in its 
subtlest form, Fire or Breath or Aether. The primal 
fiery Spirit creates out of itself the world that we 
know, persists in it as its hcat or soul or ' tension,' is 
the cause of all movement and all hfe, and ultimately 
by a universal conflagration will reabsorb the world 
into itself. But there will be no pause : at once the 
process ^vill begin again, unity will again plurahze 
itself, and all will repeat thc same course as before. 
Existence goes on for ever in endlessly recurring 
cycles, following a fixed law or formula (Aoyos) ; this 
law is Fate or Providence, ordained by God : the 
Stoics even said that the ' Logos ' is God. And the 
universe is perfectly good : badness is only apparent, 
evil only means the necessary imperfection of the 
parts viewed separately from the whole. 

The Stoic system then was determinist : but in it 
nevertheless they found room for freedom of the will. 
Man's acts hke all other occurrences are the necessary 
effects of causes ; yet man's ^^ill is free, for it rests 
with him either willingly to obey necessity, the divine 
ordinance, or to submit to it with reluctance. His 
happiness hes in using his divine intellect to under- 
stand the laws of the world, and in submitting his 
will thereto. 


The Academic position in Theology was not dogmatic 
at all, but purely critical. Within a century of Plato's 
death his school had been completely transformed 
by Arcesilas, its head in the middle of the third 
century b.c. ; he imported into it the denial of the 
possibility of knowledge that had been set up as 
a philosophical system by the Sceptic Pyrrho two 



generations before. Arcesilas was regarded as hav- 
ing refounded the school, which was now called 
the Second or New Academy. Arcesilas's work was 
carried further a century later by Carneades, who 
employed his acute logic in demoUshing the natural 
theology of the Stoics. The next head but one, Philo, 
Cicero's first Academic master, set on foot a reaction 
to a more dogmatic position ; he asserted that the 
Academy had not really changed its principles since 
Plato, and that his predecessors,though attacking the 
* criterion ' of the Stoics, had not meant to deny all 
possibihty of knowledge : there was a * clearness ' 
about some sense-impressions that carried conviction 
of their truth. Philo's successor Antiochus went 
further and abandoned scepticism altogether ; he 
maintained that the Academy had lost the true doctrine 
of Plato, and he professed to recover it, calhng his 
school the ' Old Academy.' 

CicERo's WoRK IN Philosophy. — Ciccro studied 
philosophy in his youth under the heads of all the 
three leading schools, for Philo of the Academy, 
Diodotus the Stoic, and Phaedrus the Epicurean all 
came to Rome to escape the disturbances of the Mith- 
ridatic War. He gave two more years to study in 
his maturity ; for at the age of twenty-seven he with- 
drew for a time from public life, spent six months at 
Athens studying philosophy under the Epicureans 
Phaedrus and Zeno, and the Academic Antiochus, and 
then passed on to Rhodes for rhetoric. There he 
met Posidonius, who was now the leading Stoic, as 
Diodotus had stayed in Rome as a guest at Cicero's 
house and resided there till his death. When Cicerc 
went home and resumed his public career, he still con- 
tinued his studies in his intervals of leisure, as appears 


from many passages in his Letters. And when under 
the Triumvirate hiscareerflagged,he turnedmoreand 
more to letters. After his return from exile in 57 b.c. 
he WTote De Oratore, De Republica, and De Legibus (his 
earhest essay in rhetoric, De Inventione, had been 
written before he was twenty-five). Ilhetoric and 
poHtical science again engaged him on his return to 
Rome after reconciliation with Caesar in 46 b.c. ; and 
early in 45, after the death of his daughter and the 
final do^\Tifall of Pompey's party at Pharsalus, he 
retired to a country-house and gave himself entirely 
to study and to wTiting. He seems to have conceived 
the idea of doing a last service to his country by 
making the treasures of Greek thought accessible to 
Roman readers. His intention is described in the 
preface to De Finibus (i. 1-13), in which he commends 
the book to his friend Brutus ; no doubt it was pre- 
sented to Brutus when he visited Cicero in August 
{Ad Att. xiii. 44). Cicero went on ^vith his work 
through the following year, after the assassination of 
Caesar in March, till in the autumn he flung himself 
again into the arena by attacking Antony with the 
Philippics ; and this led on to his proscription and his 
death in December 43. 

Thus, excepting the treatises named above, the 
whole of Cicero's important work in the region of 
thought was accomplished in 46-44 b.c, within the 
space of two years. 

Cicero's service to philosophy must not be under- 
rated. In wTiting to Atticus (xii. 52) he himself took 
a modest view : ' You will say " What is your method 
in compositions of this kind ? " They are mere tran- 
scripts, and cost comparatively little labour ; I supply 
only the words, of which I have a copious flow.' But 



elsewhere he rates his work rather higher : ' As my 
habit is, I shall draw from the fountains of the Greeks 
at my own judgement and discretion ' {Off. i. 6), and 
* I do not merely perform the office of a translator. 
but apply my own judgement and my o^vti arrange- 
ment ' {Fin. i. 6). His method was unambitious : he 
took some recent handbook of one or other of the 
leading schools of philosophy and reproduced it in 
Latin ; but he set passages of continuous exposition 
in a frame of dialogue, and he added illustrations from 
Roman histor}^ and poetry. His object was to popu- 
larize among his fellow-countrymen the work of the 
great masters of thought ; and he had made the 
masters' thought his omti, having read widely and 
ha^ing heard the chief teachers of the day. But to 
learning and enthusiasm he did not add depth of 
insight or scientific precision. Nevertheless he per- 
formed a notable service to philosophy. With the 
Greek schools it had now fallen into crabbed techni- 
cahty : Cicero raised it again to hterature, so com- 
mending it to all men of culture ; and he created a 
Latin philosophic terminology which has passed into 
the languages of modern Europe. 

N.D. : Date of Composition. — In the preface to 
De Divinatione, book ii., Cicero gives an account of his 
philosophical authorship. We read there (§ 3) that 
he finished his three books De Natura Deorum after he 
had pubUshed Tusculan Disputations ; and that then, 
to complete his treatment of the subject, he began 
De Divinatione, intending to add a treatise De Fato. 
The preface quoted was \vTitten soon after Caesar's 
deatfi, but the work itself before it {id. § 7), as was 
De Natura Deorum (see i. 4). Cicero's letter to Atticus 
dated the Ides of June in 45 b.c. {Att. xiii. 8) shows 


him engaged upon the whole subject ; he requests 
Atticus to send him ' Brutus's epitome of the works 
of Caehus,' which he quotes N.D. ii. 8 and several 
times in De Divi?iatione, and ' Philoxenus's copy of 
Panaetius's Uepl Ilporotas,' which he follows at Div. 
ii. 97 and quotes N.D. ii. 118. In a letter to Atticus 
a Httle later (xiii. 8. 1) occur the words * Before 
dawn, as I was writing against the Epicureans ' — 
a reference to Cotta's speech in N.D. i. ; and the 
next day he ^^Tites (^Att. xiii. 39- 2) ' I am very busy 
writing ; send me . . . ^i^aLSpov Ilepl Gewi/ ' — which he 
unquestionably required for N.D. i. He was there- 
fore engaged on this treatise in the summer of 45 b.c, 
while at the same time occupied on the Tusculans, 
which he published first. 

N.D. NOT coMPLETELY FiNiSHED. — ^Thcrc is no evi- 
dence that he ever actually pubhshed N^.D. ; although 
he speaks of it as ' finished ' {Div. ii. 3) it clearly lacks 
his final touches. The dialogue as it stands is one 
continuous conversation, ending at nightfall (iii. 94), 
but traces remain suggesting that it was first cast 
into three conversations held on three successive days, 
each book containing one ; see ii. 73, " As you said 
yesterday " (^vith note ad loc.) ; iii. 2, " I hope you have 
come wellprepared " ; iii. 18, " AU that you saidthe day 
before yesterday to prove the existence of the gods." 

CoNTENTS OF N.D. — Dc Natura Deorum opens with 
a preface dedicating the work to Cicero's friend 
Brutus. Cicero explains how philosophy occupies his 
retirement from pubhc life and consoles him in the 
bereavement of his daughter's death ; and how the 
undogmatic style of the Academic school of thought, 
of which he was an adherent, was especially suited 
to the subject of theology. The scene of the dialogue 


is then laid and the characters introduced. The 
theology of Epicurus is taken first. It is expounded 
by Velleius (§§ 18-56), ^vho precedes his exposition by 
a preUniinary attack on the theology and cosmogony 
of Plato and the Stoics, and a refutation (§§ 25-41) of 
the theology of the other schools from Thales do\vn- 
ward. He is answered (§§ 57 to end) by the Academic 
Cotta, who demohshes the Epicurean theology, and 
pronounces Epicureanism to be really fatal to rehgion 

In Book ii. the Stoic theology is set out by Balbus, 
who proves (1) the di\dne existence (§§ 4-44), and ex- 
pounds (2) the divine nature (§§ 45-72), (3) the provi- 
dential government of the world (§§ 73-153), and (4) 
the care of providence for man (§§ 154 to end). Cotta 
again rephes, in Book iii., giving the Academic criti- 
cism of the Stoic theology under the same four heads : 
(1) §§ 7-19, (2) §§ 20-64, (3) § 65 (the rest of this division 
is lost), (4) §§ 66 to end. 

Dramatis Personae. — Thus although as it stands 
the dialogue is one continuous conversation with the 
same persons present throughout, it falls into two 
separate parts, in which two different speakers take 
the lead ; but the rejoinder in both cases is made by 
Cotta. Velleius the Epicurean speaker and Balbus 
the Stoic are only known to us from this book, except 
that De Oratore (iii. 78) gives Velleius as a friend of 
the orator L. Licinius Crassus, and mentions ' duo 
Balbi ' among the Stoics of the day. Both spokes- 
men, and also Cotta the Academic, are spoken of here 
as leaders in their schools (i. 16). Cotta had already 
been commended to Cicero by Atticus {Att. xiii. 19- 3), 
and had been mentioned by Cicero before in De Ora- 
iore (iii. 145) as having joined the Academy ; Cicero 


in his youth had listened eagerly to his oratory 
{Brutus, 305, 317) ; he had been banished in 90 b.c. 
under the Varian law {De Or. iii. 11), had returned to 
Rome 82 b.c. {Brut. 311), and became consul 75 b.c. 
and then proconsul of Gaul, but died before his 
triumph. Cicero is almost a Koxf^ov TTpoaio-ov ; in the 
Introduction (i. 16 f.) he makes a comphmentary reply 
to Cotta's greeting, and one other short remark when 
Velleius says that as another pupil of Philo he will be 
a valuable ally for Cotta. Cotta in his reply to the 
Epicurean exposition asks leave (ii. 104) to quote 
Cicero's translation of the astronomical poem of 
Aratus, but Cicero gives his consent by silence. At 
the close of the work (iii. 95) Cicero ends by noting the 
impression that the debate had made on his own mind. 

SupposED Date of the Dialogue. — The imaginary 
scene of the dialogue may be dated in 77 or 76 b.c. 
In a list of political murders given by Cotta (iii. 60) 
the latest is that of Q. Scaevola, which was in 82 b.c. 
The Stoic professor Posidonius is spoken of as ' the 
friend of us all' (i. 123), which seems to put the scene 
after 78 b.c. when Cicero heard him lecture at Rhodes 
(although he had visited Rome on an embassy from 
Rhodes in 86 b.c.) ; but there is no reference to 
Cotta's consulship, 75 b.c. The date suggested fits 
in with the reference to P. Vatinius as ' adulescens ' 
(ii. 6) ; he became quaestor in QS b.c. when Cicero 
was consul. 

Sources of N.D. — It is of interest to try to ascertain 
the sources from which Cicero gets his materials for 
the treatise. In the Epicurean's review of the earher 
Greek philosophers (i. 25-41) there are references to 
their works, and later there are allusions to Epicurus's 
writings (§ 43 Tiepl KpiTrjpLov rj Kavwv, ' a heavenly 



volume,' § 49, and §§ 45 and 85 the KvpLai, Ao^ai). 
But there is nothing to prove that Cicero had read 
these first-hand authorities , and it is more probable that 
he followed his usual method of adapting his exposi- 
tion of each division of his treatise from a single 
recent writer. For the exposition of Epicureanism 
which forms the first half of Book i. this was probably 
a work of his master, Zeno. This conjecture has been 
supported by a curious accident. Among the papyri 
discovered at Herculaneum in 1752 is a mutilated 
Epicurean treatise (fully pubhshed in a volume of 
Herculaneiisia in 1862) ; there is reason to assign this 
to Zeno's pupil, Philodemus ; and the fragments are 
enough to show considerable agreement with N.D. i. 
The Epicurean argument in N.D. i. has three parts : 
a general attack on the Platonic and Stoic cosmology, 
a review of the older philosophers, and an expositionof 
Epicurean theology. In the papyrus the first part is 
lostjbut it contains the two latter and they correspond 
very closely with N.D., in spite of some differences ; 
the two books even agree in quotations from Xeno- 
phanes, Antisthenes, Aristotle, Chrysippus, and Dio- 
genes of Babylon (N.D. i. §§ 31, 32, 33, 41). Mayor 
thinks that both books take their topics and argu- 
ments from Zeno, the teacher of both authors, and as 
the historical review in both stops at the middle of 
the second century b.c, Zeno's work may well have 
been based in turn on one by his predecessor ApoUo- 

Coming to the Academic Cotta's criticism of Epi- 
cureanism in the second half of Book i., the Stoic 
Posidonius is referred to (i. 123) as ' the friend of us 
all,' and his work On Nalure is quoted as authority 
for part of the argument, and may be the source of 


the whole ; there are Stoic touches throughout (§ 80 
the jest at the Academy, § 95 the divinity of the 
universe, § 100 the teleological argument, § 103 
beasts born in fire, § 110 virtue as an active prin- 
ciple, § 115 the definitions of piety and holiness, 
§ 121 the union of man and God). But the Stoic 
origin of the passage is disputed by some authorities, 
and it has indeed an Academic colouring : it may 
possibly come, like Book iii., from Chtomachus, the 
editor of Carneades, though Carneades is noMhere 
quoted here as he is in Book iii. 

For the Stoic system in Book ii. Cicero probably 
follows Posidonius. He was unhke most of his school 
(1) in having literary tastes, and using an easy style 
with historical illustrations, (2) in being interested in 
science, and (3) in admiring Plato and Aristotle and 
adapting Stoicism to suit their doctrines. These 
features are seen in Cicero's exposition : (1) poetic 
quotations occur in §§ 4, 65, 89, 104-114, 159, and his- 
torical illustrations in §§ 6-1 1 , 61 , 69, 1 65 ; (2) § 88 refers 
to the orrery of Posidonius and to astronomical de- 
tails, tides, the ether, volcanoes, climate, human diet, 
the kinship of plant, animal, and human life (an Aris- 
totelian touch, confiicting yrith the older Stoicism), 
the eternity of the rational soul (which ^\ith the early 
Stoics perished in the universal Conflagration), the 
origin of civilization (a rationahzation of the myth of 
the Golden Age) ; (3) Plato is ' the god of philosophers * 
§ 32, and Aristotle is praised §§ 95, 125, and many 
details are borrowed from him. 

The source of tlie Academic criticism of Stoic theo- 
logy which occupies Book iii. is certainly Hasdrubal 
of Carthage, better knoN^Ti under his Greek name of 
Clitomachus. He was bom c. 180 b.c. and went to 



Athens about the age o£ twenty-five, becoming the 
pupil of Carneades and sueceeding him as head of 
the Academy. He left voluminous records of the 
doctrines of his master, who left none. Carneades 
was the great source of all criticism of the Stoics, 
especially of their theology : he ' was fond of tilting 
at the Stoics,* N.D. ii. 162. The proof of the mor- 
tahty of all animal hfe, N.D. iii. 29-34, and the sorites, 
§§ 43-52, are exphcitly taken from Carneades. 

MSS. — There are many mss. of Cicero containing 
De Natura Deorum, but few are old and none earher 
than the ninth century. All go back to one arche- 
type, as is proved by errors, gaps, and transpositions 
common to all ; but none seems to have been copied 
directly from it, and there appear to have been two 
hnes of tradition from it, exemphfied by two of 
the oldest mss., which must be deemed the most im- 
portant ; both belonged to Voss and are at Leyden — 
A dating at the end of the ninth or beginning of the 
tenth century, and B a httle later. They have many 
errors and some considerable gaps in common, but 
differ in many readings and transpositions. The other 
superior mss. all group with A, viz. V (the Palatine, at 
Vienna, almost of the same date), N (Bibhotheque 
Nationale, Paris, twelfth century, descended from V), 
O (Bodleian, end of twelfth century) ; and so do all 
the inferior copies. 

The present edition merely notes at the foot of the 
page a few of the variants of A and B and of the 
other Mss. (grouped together as deteriores) in places 
where the true reading seems doubtful. 

Editions. — For a full view of our evidence for the 
text the student may be referred to the editions of 
Plasberg (Leipzig, ed. majory 1911) revision announced 


1930, ed. minor, 191'7'). The foundation of modern 
texts is the edition of OreUi and Baiter (1861), based 
on five mss., three mentioned above, A, B (called by 
Orelli P) and V, another at Leyden (Heinsianus, 
twelfth century), and one at Erlangen, E. The in- 
valuable edition of Joseph Mayor (Cambridge, 1880- 
1885) also employs evidence coUected from twelve 
other Mss. by various scholars, and the texts of the 
four editions pubhshed at the revival of learning, at 
Venice (a.d. 1508), Paris (1511), Leipzig (1520), and 
Basel (1534) : the sources of these texts are not en- 
tirely kno\\Ti to modern scholars. In addition to his 
elaborate critical notes Mayor supplies the student 
with an exhaustive accumulation of explanatory and 
illustrative commentary. 

H. R. 

See also the edition of A. S. Pease, Cambridge. 
Mass., 1955, 1958. 







A. Rhetorical Treatises. 5 Volumes 
I. [Cicero], Rhetorica ad Herennium 

II. De Inventione 

De Optimo Genere Oratorum 

III. De Oratore, Books I-II 

IV. De Oratore, Book III 
De Fato 

Paradoxa Stoicorum 
De Partitione Oratoria 

V. Brutus 

B xxi 




VI. Pro Quinctio 

Pro Roscio Amerino 
Pro Roscio Comoedo 
De Lege Agraria Contra Rullum I-III 

VII. The Verrine Orations I : 
In Q. Caecilium 
In C. Verrem Actio I 
In C. Verrem Actio II, Books I-II 

VIII. The Verrine Orations II : 

In C. Verrem Actio II, Books III-V 

IX. De Imperio Cn. Pompei (Pro Lege Manilia) 
Pro Caecina 
Pro Cluentio 
Pro Rabirio Perduellionis Reo 

X. In Catilinam I-IV 
Pro Murena 
Pro Sulla 
Pro Flacco 

XI. Pro Archia 

Post Reditum in Senatu 
Post Reditum ad Quirites 



De Domo Sua 

De Haruspicum Responsis 

Pro Cn. Plancio 

XII. Pro Sestio 
In Vatinium 

XIII. ProCaelio 

De Provinciis Consularibus 
Pro Balbo 

XIV. Pro Milone 
In Pisonem 
Pro Scauro 
Pro Fonteio 

Pro Rabirio Postumo 

Pro MarceUo 

Pro Ligario 

Pro Rege Deiotaro 

XV. PhiUppics I-XIV 

C. Philosophical Treatises. 6 Volumes 

XVI. De Re Publica 
De Legibus 

XVII. De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum 




XVIII. Tusculan Disputations 

XIX. De Natura Deorum 
Academica I and II 

XX. Cato Maior de Senectute 
Laelius de Amicitia 
De Divinatione 

XXI. De Officiis 


XXII. Letters to Atticus, Books I-VI 

XXIII. Letters to Atticus, Books VILXI 

XXIV. Letters to Atticus, Books XII-XVI 
XXV. Letters to His Friends, Books I-VI 

XXVI. Letters to His Friends, Books VII-XII 

XXVII. Letters to His Friends, Books XIII-XVI 

XXVIII. Letters to His Brother Quintus 
Letters to Brutus 
Commentariolum Petitionis 
Epistula ad Octavianum 




1 I. Cum multae res in philosophia nequaquam 
satis adhuc exphcatae sint, tum perdifficiUs, Brute, 
quod tu minime ignoras, et perobscura quaestio est 
de natura deorum, quae et ad cognitionem animi 
pulcherrima est et ad moderandam rehgionem ne- 
cessaria. De qua tam variae sunt doctissimorum 
hominum tamque discrepantes sententiae, ut magno 
argumento esse debeat causam et principium philo- 
sophiae esse inscientiam, prudenterque Academicos a 
rebus incertis adsensionem cohibuisse : quid est enim 
temeritate turpius ? aut quid tam temerarium 
tamque indignum sapientis gravitate atque con- 
stantia quam aut falsum sentire aut quod non satis 
explorate perceptum sit et cognitum sine ulla 

2 dubitatione defendere ? Velut in hac quaestione 
plerique (quod maxime veri simile est et quo omnes 

• Or perhaps * which is both of extreme scientific interest.' 



1 I. There are a number of branches of philosophy preface. 
that have not as yet been by any means adequately JpJ'n[on7as' 
explored ; but the inquiry into the nature of the tx» the gods. 
gods, which is both highly interesting in relation to 

the theory of the soul,° and fundamentally important 
for the regulation of rehgion, is one of special diffi- 
culty and obscurity, as you, Brutus, are well aware. 
The multipHcity and variety of the opinions held 
upon this subject by eminent scholars are bound to 
constitute a strong argument for the view that 
philosophy has its origin and starting-point in 
ignorance, and that the Academic School were well- 
advised in " withholding assent " from behefs that 
are uncertain : for what is more unbecoming than 
ill-considered haste ? and what is so ill-considered 
or so unworthy of the dignity and seriousness 
proper to a philosopher as to hold an opinion that 
is not true, or to maintain with unhesitating certainty 
a proposition not based on adequate examination, 

2 comprehension and knowledge ? As regards the Atheism. 
present subject, for example, most thinkers have 
affirmed that the gods exist, and this is the most 



duce natura venimus) deos esse dixerunt, dubitare 
se Protagoras, nullos esse omnino Diagoras Melius et 
Theodorus Cyrenaicus putaverunt. Qui vero deos 
esse dixerunt, tanta sunt in varietate et dissensione 
ut eorum molestum sit enumerare sententias. Nam 
et de figuris deorum et de locis atque sedibus et de 
actione vitae multa dicuntur, deque his summa 
philosophorum dissensione certatur ; quod vero 
maxime rem causamque continet, utrum nihil agant, 
nihil moUantur, omni curatione et administratione 
rerum vacent, an contra ab iis et a principio omnia 
facta et constituta sint et ad infinitum tempus 
regantur atque moveantur, in primis magna dissensio 
est, eaque nisi diiudicatur in summo errore necesse 
est homines atque in maximarum rerum ignoratione 
3 versari. II. Sunt enim philosophi et fuerunt qui 
omnino nuUam habere censerent rerum humanarum 
procurationem deos. Quorum si vera sententia est, 
quae potest esse pietas, quae sanctitas, quae rehgio ? 
Haec enim omnia pure atque caste tribuenda deorum 
numini ita sunt, si animadvertuntur ab iis et si est 
ahquid a deis inmortaUbus hominum generi tributum. 
Sin autem dei neque possunt nos iuvare nec volunt, 
nec omnino curant nec quid agamus animadvertunt, 
nec est quod ab iis ad hominum vitam permanare 


probable view and the one to which we are all led by 
nature's guidance ; but Protagoras declared himself 
uncertain, and Diagoras of Melos and Theodorus of 
Cyrene held that there are no gods at all. More- 
over, the upholders of the di\1ne existence differ and 
disagree so widely, that it would be a troublesome 
task to recount their opinions. Many views are put 
forward about the outward form of the gods, their 
dweUing-places and abodes, and mode of hfe, and 
these topics are debated with the ^ddest variety of 
opinion among philosophers ; but as to the question 
upon which the whole issue of the dispute principally 
turns, whetherthe gods are entirely idle and inactive, 
taking no part at all in the direction and government 
of the world, or whether on the contrary all things 
both were created and ordered by them in the begin- 
ning and are controlled and kept in motion by them 
throughout etemity, here there is the greatest dis- 
agreement of all. And until this issue is decided, 
mankind must continue to labour under the pro- 
foundest uncertainty, and to be in ignorance about 
matters of the highest moment. 11. For there are Denialof 
and have been philosophers w^ho hold that the gods providence. 
exercise no control over human affairs whatever. 
But if their opinion is the true one, how can piety, 
reverence or reUgion exist ? For all these are 
tributes which it is our duty to render in purity and 
hohness to the divine powers solely on the assump- 
tion that they take notice of them, and that some 
service has been rendered by the immortal gods to the 
race of men. But if on the contrary the gods have 
neither the power nor the will to aid us, if they pay no 
heed to us at all and take no notice of our actions, if 
they can exert no possible influence upon the Ufe of 



possit, quid est quod ullos deis inmortalibus cultus 
honores preces adhibeamus ? In specie autem fictae 
simulationis sicut rehquae virtutes item pietas inesse 
non potest, cum qua simul sanctitatem et reUgionem 
toUi necesse est ; quibus sublatis perturbatio vitae 

4 sequitur et magna confusio,^ atque haud scio an 
pietate adversus deos sublata fides etiam et societas 
generis humani et una excellentissima virtus iustitia 

Sunt autem aUi philosophi, et ii quidem magni 
atque nobiles, qui deorum mente atque ratione 
omnem mundum administrari et regi censeant, 
neque vero id solum, sed etiam ab isdem hominum 
vitae consuU et provideri ; nam et fruges et rehqua 
quae terra pariat, et tempestates ac temporum varie- 
tates caehque mutationes quibus omnia quae terra 
gignat maturata pubescant, a dis inmortaUbus tribui 
generi humano putant, multaque (quae dicentur in 
his Ubris) coUigunt quae taUa sunt ut ea ipsa dei 
inmortales ad usum hominum fabricati paene videan- 
tur. Contra quos Carneades ita multa disseruit ut 
excitaret homines non socordes ad veri investigandi 

5 cupiditatem. Res enim nuUa est de qua tantopere 
non solum indocti sed etiam docti dissentiant ; 
quorum opiniones cum tam variae sint tamque inter 
se dissidentes, alterum fieri profecto potest ut 

* quibus . . . confusio infra post toUatur tr. Wyttenhach, 


men, what ground have we for rendering any sort of 
worship, honour or prayer to the immortal gods ? 
Piety however, hke the rest of the virtues, cannot 
exist in mere outward show and pretence ; and, with 
piety, reverence and rehgion must hkewise disappear. 
And when these are gone, hfe soon becomes a welter 

4 of disorder and confusion ; and in all probabihty the 
disappearance of piety towards the gods will entail 
the disappearance of loyalty and social union among 
men as well, and of justice itself, the queen of all 
the virtues. 

There are however other philosophers, and those of Beiief in 
eminence and note, who beheve that the whole world p^°^''^®°°* 
is ruled and governed by divine intelligence and 
reason ; and not this only, but also that the gods' 
providence watches over the hfe of men ; for they 
think that the corn and other fruits of the earth, 
and also the weather and the seasons and the 
changes of the atmosphere by which all the products 
of the soil are ripened and matured, are the gift 
of the immortal gods to the human race ; and they 
adduce a number of things, which will be recounted 
in the books that compose the present treatise, that 
are of such a nature as almost to appear to have been 
expressly constructed by the immortal gods for the use 
of man. This view was controverted at great length 
by Carneades, in such a manner as to arouse in 
persons of active mind a keen desire to discover the 

6 truth, There is in fact no subject upon which so 
much difference of opinion exists, not only among 
the unlearned but also among educated men ; and 
the views entertained are so various and so discrepant, 
that, while it is no doubt a possible alternative that 


eariun nulla, alterum certe non potest ut plus una 
vera sit. 

III. Qua quidem in causa et benivolos obiur- 
gatores placare et invidos vituperatores confutare 
possumus, ut alteros reprehendisse paeniteat, alteri 
didicisse se gaudeant ; nam qui admonent amice 
docendi sunt, qui inimice insectantur repellendi.^ 

6 Multum autem fluxisse video de libris nostris, quos 
compluris brevi tempore edidimus, variumque ser- 
monem partim admirantium unde hoc philosophandi 
nobis subito studium extitisset, partim quid quaque 
de re certi haberemus scire cupientium. Multis 
etiam sensi mirabile videri eam nobis potissimum 
probatam esse philosophiam quae lucem eriperet et 
quasi noctem quandam rebus offunderet, desertaeque 
disciphnae et iam pridem rehctae patrocinium nec- 
opinatum a nobis esse susceptum. 

Nos autem nec subito coepimus philosophari nec 
mediocrem a primo tempore aetatis in eo studio 
operam curamque consumpsimus et cum minime 
videbamur, tum maxime philosophabamur, quod et 
orationes declarant refertae philosophorum senten- 
tiis et doctissimorum hominum famiharitates quibus 
semper domus nostra floruit, et principes iUi Diodotus 
Philo Antiochus Posidonius a quibus instituti sumus. 

7 Et si omnia philosophiae praecepta referuntur ad 
vitam, arbitramur nos et pubhcis et privatis in rebus 

^ qua . . . repellendi infra 'post susceptum tr. Mayor, 


DE NATURA DEORUM, I. ii.— iii. 

none of them is true, it is certainly impossible that 
more than one should be so. 

III. Upon this issue we are able both to appease Author'8 
kindly critics and to silence malicious fault-finders, critics. 
causing the latter to repent of their censure and the 
former to welcome an accession to their knowledge. 
Friendly remonstrance must be met by explanation, 
hostile attack by refutation. 

6 I observe however that a great deal of talk has 
been current about the large number of books that 
I have produced within a short space of time, and 
that such comment has not been all of one kind ; 
some people have been curious as to the cause of this 
sudden outburst of philosophical interest on my part, 
while others have been eager to learn what positive 
opinions I hold on the various questions. Many also, 
as I have noticed, are surprised at my choosing to 
espouse a philosophy that in their view robs the 
world of dayhght and floods it with a darkness as of 
night ; and they wonder at my coming forward so 
unexpectedly as the champion of a derelict system 
and one that has long been given up. 

As a matter of fact however I am no new convert Phij?sophy 
to^the study of philosophy. From my earUest youth study. "^ 
I have devoted no small amount of time and energy to 
it, and I pursued it most keenly at the very periods 
when I least appeared to be doing so, ^vitness the 
philosophical maxims of which my speeches are fuU, 
and my intimacy with the learned men who have 
always graced my household, as well as those eminent 
professors, Diodotus, Philo, Antiochus and Posidonius, 

7 who were my instructors. Moreover, if it be true 
that all the doctrines of philosophy have a practical 
bearing, I may claim that in my pubhc and private 



ea praestitisse quae ratio et doctrina praescripserit. 
IV. Sin autem quis requirit quae causa nos inpulerit 
ut haec tam sero litteris mandaremus, nihil est quod 
expedire tam facile possimus. Nam cum otio lan- 
gueremus et is esset rei pubHcae status ut eam 
unius consiUo atque cura gubernari necesse esset, 
primum ipsius rei pubhcae causa philosophiam nostris 
hominibus expUcandam putavi, magni existimans 
interesse ad decus et ad laudem civitatis res tam 
gravis tamque praeclaras Latinis etiam htteris con- 

8 tineri ; eoque me minus instituti mei paenitet quod 
facile sentio quam multorum non modo discendi sed 
etiam scribendi studia commoverim. Complures 
enim Graecis institutionibus eruditi ea quae didi- 
cerant cum civibus suis communicare non poterant, 
quod illa quae a Graecis accepissent I/atine dici posse 
diffiderent : quo in genere tantum profecisse videmur 
ut a Graecis ne verborum quidem copia vincere- 

9 mur. Hortata etiam est ut me ad haec conferrem 
animi aegritudo fortunae magna et gravi commota 
iniuria ; cuius si maiorem ahquam levationem reperire 
potuissem, non ad hanc potissimum confugissem, 
ea vero ipsa nulla ratione mehus frui potui quam si 
me non modo ad legendos hbros sed etiam ad totam 

" The death of his daughter in 45 b.c. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, I. iii.— iv. 

conduct alike I have practised the precepts tau^i^ht PWiosophi 
by reason and by theory, IV. If again anyone asks an occupa- 
what motive has induced me so late in the dav to ^*°" ^°^i,[^ 

, i. retirement, 

commit these precepts to writing, there is nothmg a patnotic 
that I can explain more easily. I was languishing consoiatioa 
in idle retirement, and the state of pubhc affairs was j»» his 
such that an autocratic form of government had ment. 
become inevitable. In these circumstances, in the 
first place I thought that to expound philosophy to my 
fellow-countrymen was actually my duty in the in- 
terests of the commonwealth, since in my judgement 
it would greatly contribute to the honour and glory 
of the state to have thoughts so important and so 

8 lofty enshrined in Latin Uterature also ; and I am 
the less inchned to repent of my undertaking because 
I can clearly perceive what a number of my readers 
have been stimulated not only to study but to 
become authors themselves. A great many accom- 
phshed students of Greek learning were unable to 
share their acquisitions with their fellow-citizens, 
on the ground that they doubted the possibiUty of 
conveying in Latin the teachings they had received 
from the Greeks. In the matter of style however I 
beheve that we have made such progress that even 
in richness of vocabulary the Greeks do not surpass us. 

9 Another thing that urged me to this occupation was 
the dejection of spirit occasioned by the heavy and 
crushing blow** that had been dealt me by fortune. 
Had I been able to fmd any more effective rehef 
from my sorrow, I should not have had recourse to this 
particular form of consolation ; but the best way open 
to me of enjoying even this consolation to the fuU 
extent was to devote myself not only to reading 
books but also to composing a treatise on the whole 



philosophiam pertractandam dedissem. Omnes au- 
tem eius partes atque omnia membra tum facillume 
noscuntur cum totae quaestiones scribendo explican- 
tur ; est enim admirabilis quaedam continuatio 
seriesque rerum, ut alia ex alia nexa et omnes inter 
se aptae conUgataeque videantur. 

10 V. Qui autem requirunt quid quaque de re ipsi 
sentiamus, curiosius id faciunt quam necesse est ; 
non enim tam auctoritatis in disputando quam 
rationis momenta quaerenda sunt. Quin etiam obest 
plerumque iis qui discere volunt auctoritas eorum 
qui se docere profitentur ; desinunt enim suum 
iudicium adhibere, id habent ratum quod ab eo quem 
probant iudicatum \ident. Nec vero probare soleo 
id quod de Pythagoreis accepimus, quos ferunt, si 
quid adfirmarent in disputando, cum ex eis quaere- 
retur quare ita esset, respondere solitos ' Ipse dixit ' ; 
* ipse * autem erat Pythagoras : tantum opinio prae- 
iudicata poterat, ut etiam sine ratione valeret 

11 Qui autem admirantur nos hanc potissimum 
discipUnam secutos, iis quattuor Academicis hbris 
satis responsum videtur. Nec vero desertarum re- 
hctarumque rerum patrocinium suscepimus ; non 
enim hominum interitu sententiae quoque occidunt, 
sed lucem auctoris fortasse desiderant ; ut haec in 

• AvToj ^(p-n : as one might say * The Master said so.* 


of philosophy. Now the readiest mode of iniparting 
a knowledge of the subject in all its departments and 
branches is to wTite an exposition of the various 
methods in their entirety ; since it is a striking 
characteristic of philosophy that its topics all hang 
together and form a consecutive system ; one is seen 
to be linked to another, and all to be mutually 
connected and attached.,, 

V. Those however who seek to learn my personal Lack of 
opinion on the various questions show an unreasonable juS^Yd!™ 
degree of curiosity. In discussion it is not so much 
weight of authority as force of argument that should 
be demanded. Indeed the authority of those who 
profess to teach is often a positive hindrance to those 
who desire to learn ; they cease to employ their own 
judgement, and take what they perceive to be the 
verdict of their chosen master as setthng the question. 
In fact I am not disposed to approve the practice tra- 
ditionally ascribed to the Pythagoreans, who, when 
questioned as to the grounds of any assertion that 
they advanced in debate, are said to have been 
accustomed to reply * He himself said so,' ° * he 
himself being Pythagoras. So potent was an 
opinion aheady decided, making authority prevail 
unsupported by reason. 

To those again who are surprised at my choice of Academic 
a system to which to give my allegiance, I think that a ^rSbabUit^ 
sufficient answer has been given in the four books 
of my Academica. Nor is it the case that I have 
come forward as the champion of a lost cause and of 
a position now abandoned. When men die, their doc- 
trines do not perish with them, though perhaps they 
sufFer from the loss of their authoritative exponent. 
Take for example the philosophical method referred 



philosophia ratio contra omnia disserendi nullamque 
rem aperte iudicandi profecta a Socrate, repetita ab 
Arcesila, confirmata a Carneade usque ad nostram 
viguit aetatem ; quam nunc prope modum orbam 
esse in ipsa Graecia intellego. Quod non Academiae 
vitio sed tarditate hominum arbitror contigisse ; nam 
si singulas discipUnas percipere magnum est, quanto 
maius omnis ? quod facere iis necesse est quibus 
propositum est veri reperiendi causa et contra omnis 

12 philosophos et pro omnibus dicere. Cuius rei tantae 
tamque difficiUs facultatem consecutum esse me non 
profiteor, secutum esse prae me fero. Nec tamen 
fieri potest ut qui hac ratione philosophentur ii nihil 
habeant quod sequantur. Dictum est omnino de 
hac re aho loco dihgentius. sed quia nimis indociles 
quidam tardique sunt admonendi videntur saepius. 
Non enim sumus ii quibus nihil verum esse videatur, 
sed ii qui omnibus veris falsa quaedam adiuncta 
esse dicamus tanta simiUtudine ut in iis nuUa insit 
certa iudicandi et adsentiendi nota. Ex quo exstitit 
iUudj multa esse probabiUa, quae quamquam non per- 
ciperentur, tamen, quia visum quendam haberent 
insignem et inlustrem iis sapientis vita regeretur. 

13 VI. Sed iam, ut omni me invidia liberem, ponam 
in medio sententias philosophorum de natura deorum. 

" The Stoics on the contrary held that true sensations are 
distinguished from false ones by an infallible mark {(xrj/xelov^ 
nota, signum.) and command our instinctive assent to their 


to, that of a purely negative dialectic which refrains 
from pronouncing any positive judgement. This, 
after being originated by Socrates, revived by 
Arcesilas, and reinforced by Carneades, has flourished 
right down to our own period ; though I understand 
that in Greece itself it is now almost bereft of ad- 
herents. But this I ascribe not to the fault of the 
Academy but to the dullness of mankind. If it is a 
considerable matter to understand any one of the 
systems of philosophy singly, how much harder is it to 
master them all ! Yet this is the task that confronts 
those whose principle is to discover the truth by the 
method of arguing both for and against all the schools. 

12 In an undertaking so extensive and so arduous, I do 
not profess to have attained success, though I do 
claim to have attempted it. At the same time 
it would be impossible for the adherents of this 
method to dispense altogether with any standard of 
guidance. This matter it is true I have discussed 
elsewhere more thoroughly ; but some people are 
so duU and slow of apprehension that they appear 
to require repeated explanations. Our position is 
not that we hold that nothing is true, but that we 
assert that all true sensations are associated ^vith 
false ones so closely resembhng them that they 
contain no infalhble mark to guide our judgement 
and assent.'* From this followed the corollary, that 
many sensations are probable, that is, though not 
amounting to a full perception they are yet possessed 
of a certain distinctness and clearness, and so can 
serve to direct the conduct of the wise man. 

.3 VI. However, to free myself entirely from ill- Undoematw 
disposed criticism, I will now lay before my readers 8pe!^iiy° 
the doctrines of the various schools on the nature approp"**» 



Quo quidem loco convocandi omnes videntur quj 

quae sit earum vera iudicent ; tum demum mihi 

procax^ Academia videbitur, si aut consenserint 

omnes aut erit inventus aliquis qui quid verum sit 

invenerit. Itaque mihi hbet exclamare ut in' Syne- 

phehts : 

pro deum, popularium omnium, <6mnium>' adulescen- 

clamo postulo obsecro oro ploro atque inploro fidem 

non levissuma de re, ut queritur ille ' in civitate ' fieri 

* facinora capitalia ' — 

ab amico amante argentum accipere meretrix non vult, 

14 sed ut adsint cognoscant animadvertant, quid de 
religione pietate sanctitate caerimoniis fide iure 
iurando, quid de templis delubris sacrificiisque sollem- 
nibus, quid de ipsis auspiciis quibus nos praesumus 
existimandum sit (haec enim omnia ad hanc de dis 
inmortalibus quaestionem referenda sunt) : profecto 
eos ipsos qui se ahquid certi habere arbitrantur 
addubitare coget doctissimorum hominum de maxuma 
re tanta dissensio. 

16 Quod cum saepe alias, tum maxime animadverti 
cura apud C. Cottam famiUarem meum accurate sane 
et dihgenter de dis inmortahbus disputatum est. 
Nam cum feriis Latinis ad eum ipsius rogatu arcessi- 

* pervicax Reid. 

' ut Statius in dett. : ut est in, ut ille in edd.^ sed nescio 
an personae nomen exciderit. ^ add. Manutius. 

* A play of Caecilius Statius translated from Menander. 

* Cicero was elected a member of the College of Augurs 
in 53 B.o. 



of the gods. This is a topic on which it seems proper to the 
to summon all the world to sit in judgement and thStreatfse 
pronounce which of these doctrines is the true one. Theology. 
If it turn out that all the schools agree, or if any 
one philosopher be found who has discovered the 
truth, then but not before I will convict the Academy 
of captiousness. This being so, I feel disposed to ery, 
in the words of the Young Comrades <* : 

ye gods and O ye mortals, townsmen, gownsmen, hear 

my call; 

1 invoke, implore, adjure ye, bear ye witness one and all — 

not about some frivolous trifle such as that of which 
a character in the play complains — 

. . . here's a monstrous crime and outrage in the land ; 
Here's a lady who decUnes a guinea from a lover's hand ! 

14 but to attend in court, try the case, and dehver their 
verdict as to what opinions we are to hold about 
reHgion, piety and hoUness, about ritual, abouthonour 
and loyalty to oaths, about temples, shrines and 
solemn sacrifices, and about the very auspices over 
which I myself preside ^ ; for all of these matters 
ultimately depend upon this question of the nature 
of the immortal gods. Surely such wide diversity of 
opinion among men of the greatest learning on a 
matter of the highest moment must affect even those 
who think that they possess certain knowledge with a 
feeUng of doubt. 

15 This has often struck me, but it did so with especial introduc- 
force on one occasion, when the topic of the immortal dSogue.^* 
gods was made the subject of a very searching and 
thorough discussion at the house of my friend Gaius 
Cotta. It was the Latin Festival, and I had come 

at Cotta*s express invitation to pay him a visit. I 



tuque venissem, offendi eum sedentem in exedra et 
cum C. Velleio senatore disputantem, ad quem tum 
Epicurei primas ex nostris hominibus deferebant. 
Aderat etiam Q. Lucilius Balbus, qui tantos pro- 
gressus habebat in Stoicis ut cum excellentibus in 
eo genere Graecis compararetur. 

Tum ut me Cotta vidit, " Peropportune " inquit 
" venis ; oritur enim mihi magna de re altercatio 
cum Velleio, cui pro tuo studio non est alienum te 
16 VII. " Atqui mihi quoque videor " inquam " ve- 
nisse ut dicis opportune. Tres enim trium discipHna- 
rum principes convenistis. M. enim^ Piso si adesset, 
nulUus philosophiae, earum quidem quae in honore 
sunt, vacaret locus." 

Tum Cotta " Si," inquit, " Hber Antiochi nostri, 
qui ab eo nuper ad hunc Balbum missus est, vera 
loquitur, nihil est quod Pisonem famiharem tuum 
desideres ; Antiocho enim Stoici cum Peripateticis 
re concinere videntur, verbis discrepare ; quo de 
Hbro, Balbe, veHm scire quid sentias." 

" Egone ? " inquit ille, " miror Antiochum homi- 
nem in primis acutum non vidisse interesse plurimum 
inter Stoicos, qui honesta a commodis non nomine sed 
genere toto diiungerent, et Peripateticos, qui honesta 
commiscerent cum commodis, ut ea inter se magni- 
tudine et quasi gradibus, non genere differrent. 
Haec enim est non verborum parva sed rerum per- 

* etiam Heindorf^ autem Miiller. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, I. vi.— vii. 

found him sitting in an alcove, engaged in debate 
with Gaius Velleius, a Member of the Senate, 
accounted by the Epicureans as their chief Roman 
adherent at the time. With them was Quintus 
LuciUus Balbus, who was so accomplished a student 
of Stoicism as to rank ^^ith the leading Greek ex- 
ponents of that system. 

When Cotta saw me, he greeted me with the words : 
*' You come exactly at the right moment, for I am 
just engaging in a dispute with \^elleius on an im- 
portant topic, in which you with your tastes will be 
interested to take part." 
16 VII. " Well, I too," I replied, " think I have come 
at the right moment, as you say. For here are you, 
three leaders of three schools of philosophy, met in 
congress. In fact we only want Marcus Piso to have 
every considerable school represented." 

" Oh," rejoined Cotta, " if what is said in the book 
which our master Antiochus lately dedicated to our 
good Balbus here is true, you have no need to regret 
the absence of your friend Piso. Antiochus holds 
the view that the doctrines of the Stoics, though 
differing in form of expression, agree in substance 
with those of the Peripatetics. I should like to 
know your opinion of the book, Balbus." 

" My opinion ? " said Balbus, " Why, I am sur- 
prised that a man of first-rate intellect like Antiochus 
should have failed to see what a gulf divides the 
Stoics, who distinguish expediency and right not in 
name only but in essential nature, from the Peripa- 
tetics, who class the right and the expedient together, 
and only recognize differences of quantity or degree, 
not of kind, between them. This is not a slight 
verbal discrepancy, but a fundamental difference of 



17 magna dissensio. Verum hoc alias ; nunc quod 
coepimus, si videtur." 

*' Mihi vero," inquit Cotta, ** videtur. Sed ut hic 
qui intervenit ** me intuens ** ne ignoret quae res 
agatur, de natura agebamus deorum, quae cum mihi 
videretur perobscura, ut semper videri solet, Epicuri 
ex Velleio sciscitabar sententiam. Quam ob rem," 
inquit " Vellei, nisi molestum est, repete quae coe- 

" Repetam vero, quamquam non mihi sed tibi 
hic venit adiutor ; ambo enim " inquit adridens, 
" ab eodem Philone nihil scire didicistis." 

Tum ego : " Quid didicerimus Cotta viderit, tu 
autem nolo me existimes adiutorem huic venisse 
sed auditorem, et quidem aequum, Hbero iudicio, 
nulla eius modi adstrictum necessitate ut mihi vehm 
noHm sit certa quaedam tuenda sententia." 

18 VIII. Tum Velleius fidenter sane, ut solent isti, 
nihil tam verens quam ne dubitare ahqua de re 
videretur, tamquam modo ex deorum conciho et ex 
Epicuri intermundiis descendisset, " Audite " inquit, 
** non futtihs commenticiasque sententias, non opi- 
ficem aedificatoremque mundi, Platonis de Timaeo 
deum, nec anum fatidicam Stoicorum irpovoLau, 
quam Latine hcet providentiam dicere, neque vero 

■ Epicurus taught that gods dwelt in empty spaces 
between the material worlds. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, I. vii.— viii. 

17 doctrine. However we can discuss this some other 
time, For the moment we will, if you please, con- 
tinue the topic which we had begun." 

" Agreed," cried Cotta ; " but to let the new- 
coraer know what is the subject of discussion " — • 
here he glanced at me — " I ^vill explain that we 
were debating the nature of the gods : a question 
which seemed to me, as it always does, an extremely 
obscure one, and upon which I was therefore 
inquiring of Velleius as to the opinion of Epicurus. 
So if you do not mind, Velleius," he continued, 
** please resume the exposition that you had begun." 

" I will do so," replied Velleius, ** although it is 
not I but you who have been reinforced by an ally — 
since both of you," he said, with a smile in our 
direction, " are disciples of Philo, and have learned 
from him to know nothing." 

" What we have learned," I rejoined, " shall be 
Cotta's affair ; but pray don't think I have come to 
act as his ally, but as a Hstener, and an impartial and 
unprejudiced Ustener too, under no sort of bond or 
obligation willy nilly to uphold some fixed opinion." 

18 VIII. Hereupon Velleius began, in the confident Theoiogy of 
manner (I need not say) that is customary with expounded 
Epicureans, afraid of nothing so much as lest he should ^y Tl^lgl"^ 
appear to have doubts about anything. One would 

have supposed he had just come down from the 
assembly of the gods in the intermundane spaces of 
Epicurus"! "I am not going to expound to you 
doctrines that are mere baseless figments of the 
imagination, such as the artisan deity and world- 
builder of Plato's Timaeus, or that old hagof a fortune- 
teller, the Pronoia (which we may render ' Providence ') 
of the Stoics ; nor yet a world endowed with a mind and 



mundum ipsum animo et sensibus praeditum, rotun- 
dum ardentem volubilem deum, portenta et miracula 
non disserentium philosophorum sed somniantium. 

19 Quibus enim ocuUs animi^ intueri potuit vester Plato 
fabricam illam tanti operis, qua construi a deo atque 
aedificari mundum facit ? quae moHtio, quae ferra- 
menta, qui vectes, quae machinae, qui ministri tanti 
muneris fuerunt ? quem ad modum autem oboedire 
et parere voluntati architecti aer ignis aqua terra 
potuerunt ? unde vero ortae illae quinque formae ex 
quibus rehqua formantur, apte cadentes ad animum 
afficiendum pariendosque sensus ? Longum est ad 
omnia, quae taUa sunt ut optata magis quam inventa 

20 videantur ; sed illa palmaria,^ quod qui non modo 
natum mundum introduxerit sed etiam manu paene 
factum, is eum dixerit fore sempiternum. Hunc 
censes primis ut dicitur labris gustasse physiologiam, 
id est naturae rationem, qui quicquam quod ortum 
sit putet aeternum esse posse ? Quae est enim 
coagmentatio non dissolubihs ? aut quid est cui 
principium aliquod sit, nihil sit extremum ? Pronoea 
vero si vestra est, Lucih, eadem,' requiro quae 
paulo ante, ministros machinas omnem totius operis 
dissignationem atque apparatum ; sin aha est, cur 
mortalem fecerit mundum, non quem ad modum 

21 Platonicus deus sempiternum. IX. Ab utroque au- 

^ animi om. ed. Veneta. 

2 palmaria Davies : palmaris. 

' eadem, <eadem> Heindor/. 

* Pyramid, cube, octohedron, dodecahedron, eicosihedron ; 
the shapes respectively of the particles of fire, earth, air, 
aether, water. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, I. viii.— ix. 

senses of its own, a spherical, rotatory god of burning 
fire ; these are the marvels and monstrosities of 

19 philosophers who do not reason but dream. What 
power of mental vision enabled your master Plato piatonic 
to descry the vast and elaborate architectural process t^^eof^J^e^ 
which, as he makes out, the deity adopted in building and 

the structure of the universe ? What method of rSuielf 
engineering was employed ? VVhat tools and levers 
and derricks ? What agents carried out so vast an 
undertaking ? And how were air, fire, water and 
earth enabled to obey and execute the will of the 
architect ? How did the five regular solids,<* which 
are the basis of all other forms of matter, come into 
existence so nicely adapted to make impressions on 
our minds and produce sensations ? It would be a 
lengthy task to advert upon every detail of a system 
that is such as to seem the result of idie theorizing 

20 rather than of real research ; but the prize example 
is that the thinker who represented the world not 
merely as having had an origin but even as almost 
made by hand, also declared that it will exist for 
ever. Can you suppose that a man can have even 
dipped into natural philosophy if he imagines that 
anything that has come into being can be eternal ? 
What composite whole is not capable of dissolution ? 
What thing is there that has a beginning but not an 
end ? While as for your Stoic Providence, Lucilius, 
if it is the same thing as Plato's creator, I repeat my 
previous questions, what were its agents and instru- 
ments, and how was the entire undertaking planned 
out and carried through ? If on the contrary it is 
something different, I ask why it made the world 
mortal, and not everlasting as did Plato's divine 

21 creator f IX. Moreover I would put to both of you 



tem sciscitor cur mundi aedificatores repente ex- 
stiterint, innumerabilia saecla dormierint ; non enim, 
si mundus nullus erat, saecla non erant (saecla nunc 
dico non ea quae dierum noctiumque numero annuis 
cursibus conficiuntur, nam fateor ea sine mundi 
conversione effici non potuisse ; sed fuit quaedam ab 
infinito tempore aeternitas, quam nulla circum- 
scriptio temporum metiebatur, spatio tamen qualis 
ea fuerit intellegi potest,^ quod ne in cogitationem 
quidem cadit ut fuerit tempus aliquod nullum cum 

22 tempus esset) — isto igitur tam inmenso spatio quaero, 
Balbe, cur Pronoea vestra cessaverit. Laboremne 
fugiebat ? At iste nec attingit deum nec erat uUus, 
cum omnes naturae numini divino, caelum ignes 
terrae maria, parerent. Quid autem erat quod con- 
cupisceret deus mundum signis et luminibus tam- 
quam aedilis ornare ? Si ut [deus]^ ipse melius 
habitaret, antea videlicet tempore infinito in tenebris 
tamquam in gurgustio habitaverat ; post autem 
varietatene eum delectari putamus qua caelum et 
terras exornatas videmus ? Quae ista potest esse 
oblectatio deo ? quae si esset, non ea tam diu carere 

23 potuisset. An haec, ut fere dicitis, hominum causa 
a deo constituta sunt ? Sapientiumne ? Propter 
paucos igitur tanta est facta rerum moUtio. An 
stultorum ? At primum causa non fuit cur de in- 
probis bene mereretur ; deinde quid est adsecutus ? 

^ intellegi non potest dett. 
2 secl. Ernesti. 

" There is a play on words in signis et luminihust which 
denote both the constellations and luminaries of the sky 
and the statues and illuminations with which the aedileg 
adorned the city for festivals. 


the question, why did these deities suddenly awake 
into activity as world-builders after countless ages of 
slumber ? for though the world did not exist, it does 
not follow that ages did not exist — meaning by ages, 
not periods made up of a number of days and nights 
in annual courses, for ages in this sense I admit could 
not have been produced without the circular motion of 
the firmament ; but from the infinite past there has 
existed an eternity not measured by limited divisions 
of time, but of a nature intelHgible in terms of exten- 
sion ; since it is inconceivable that there was ever a 

22 time when time did not exist. Well then, Balbus, 
what I ask is, why did your Providence remain idle all 
through that extent of time of which you speak ? 
Was it in order to avoid fatigue ? But god cannot 
know fatigue ; and also there was no fatigue in 
question, since all the elements, sky, fire, earth and 
sea, were obedient to the divine will. Also, why 
should god take a fancy to decorate the firmament 
with figures and illuminations,'^ Hke an aedile ? 
If it was to embelHsh his own abode, then it seems 
that he had previously been dwelHng for an infinite 
time in a dark and gloomy hovel ! And are we to 
suppose that thenceforward the varied beauties which 
we see adorning earth and sky have afforded him 
pleasure ? How can a god take pleasure in things 
of this sort ? And if he did, he could not have dis- 

23 pensed with it so long. Or were these beauties 
designed for the sake of men, as your school usually 
maintains ? For the sake of wise men ? If so, all 
this vast effort of construction took place on account 
of a handful of people. For the sake of fools then ? 
But in the first place there was no reason for god to 
do a service to the wicked ; and secondly, what good 



cum omnes stulti sint sine dubio miserrimi, maxime 
quod stulti sunt(miserius enim stultitia quid possumus 
dicere ?), deinde quod ita multa sunt incommoda in 
vita ut ea sapientes commodorum conpensatione 
leniant, stulti nec vitare venientia possint nec ferre 
praesentia ? X. Qui vero mundum ipsum animan- 
tem sapientemque esse dixerunt, nullo modo vide- 
runt animi natura intellegentis in quam figuram 
cadere posset. De quo dicam equidem paulo post, 
24 nunc autem hactenus : admirabor eorum tarditatem 
qui animantem inmortalem et eundem beatum ro- 
tundum esse velint quod ea forma neget uUam esse 
pulchriorem Plato ; at mihi vel cyUndri vel quadrati 
vel coni vel pyramidis videtur esse formosior. Quae 
vero vita tribuitur isti rotundo deo ? Nempe ut ea 
celeritate contorqueatur cui par nulla ne cogitari 
quidem possit ; in qua non video ubinam mens 
constans et vita beata possit insistere. Quodque in 
nostro corpore si minima ex parte t significetur* 
molestum sit, cur hoc idem non habeatur molestum 
in deo ? Terra enim profecto, quoniam mundi pars 
est, pars est etiam dei ; atqui terrae maxumas 
regiones inhabitabiUs atque incultas videmus, quod 
pars earum adpulsu sohs exarserit, pars obriguerit 
nive pruinaque longinquo sohs abscessu ; quae, si 
mundus est deus, quoniam mundi partes sunt, dei 

* sic afficiatur Schomann i <frigore aut solis igni> uexetur 



did he do ? inasmuch as all fools are beyond question 
extremely miserable, precisely because they are fools 
(for what can be mentioned more miserable than 
folly ?), and in the second place because there are so 
many troubles in hfe that, though wise men can 
assuage them by balancing against them Hfe's 
advantages, fools can neither avoid their approach 
nor endure their presence. X. Those on the 
other hand who said that the world is itself en- 
dowed with hfe and with wisdom, failed entirely to 
discern what shape the nature of an inteUigent 
hving being could conceivably possess. I will touch 
24 on this a Uttle later ; for the present I wiU confine 
myself to expressing my surprise at their stupidity 
in holding that a being who is immortal and 
also blessed is of a spherical shape, merely on the 
ground that Plato pronounces a sphere to be the most 
beautiful of aU figures. For my own part, on the 
score of appearance I prefer either a cyUnder or acube 
or a cone or a pyramid. Then, what mode of exist- 
ence is assigned to their spherical deity ? Why, he 
is in a state of rotation, spinning round with a 
velocity that surpasses aU powers of conception. But 
what room there can be in such an existence for 
steadfastness of mind and for happiness, I cannot see. 
Also, why should a condition that is painful in the 
human body, if even the smaUest part of it is affected, 
be supposed to be painless in the deity ? Now 
clearly the earth, being a part of the world, is also a 
part of god. Yet we see that vast portions of the 
earth's surface are uninhabitable deserts, being 
either scorched by the sun's proximity, or frost-bound 
and covered ^Wth snow owing to its extreme remote- 
ness. But if the world is god, these, being parts of the 



membra partim ardentia partim refrigerata dicenda 

25 " Atque haec quidem vestra, Lucili ; qualia vero 
* * est,^ ab ultimo repetam superiorum. Thales enim 
Milesius, qui primus de taUbus rebus quaesivit, 
aquam dixit esse initium rerum, deum eam mentem 
quae ex aqua cuncta fingeret — si' di possunt esse 
sine sensu ; et mentem^ cur aquae adiunxit, si ipsa 
mens constare potest vacans corpore ? Anaximandri 
autem opinio est nativos esse deos longis intervalHs 
orientis occidentisque, eosque innumerabilis esse 
mundos. Sed nos deum nisi sempiternum intellegere 

26 qui possumus ? Post Anaximenes aera deum statuit, 
eumque gigni esseque inmensum et infinitum et 
semper in motu : quasi aut aer sine ulla forma deus 
esse possit, cum praesertim deum non modo aliqua 
sed pulcherrima specie deceat esse, aut non omne 
quod ortum sit mortahtas consequatur. XI. Inde 
Anaxagoras, qui accepit ab Anaximene discipUnam, 
primus omnium rerum discriptionem et modum men- 
tis infinitae vi ac ratione dissignari et confici voluit ; 
in quo non vidit neque motum sensui iunctum et 
continentem in infinito* ullum esse posse, neque 
sensum omnino quo non ipsa natura pulsa sentiret. 
Deinde si mentem istam quasi animal ahquod voluit 
esse, erit aHquid interius ex quo illud animal nomine- 

* quaUa uero aha sint B corr. • sed veri simile est aliqua 
verha excidisse. * si det.y sic A^ B. 

^ mentem B, mente cett. ; post mente lacunam edd, 

* incontinentem infinito A^ B, 


world, must be regarded as limbs of god, undergoing 
the extremes of heat and cold respectively. 

25 " So much, LuciHus, for the doctrines of your Theoiogy of 
school. To show what <the older systems> are Hke, schoois 

I will trace their history from the remotest of your flp^ 
predccessors. Thales of Miletus, who was the iirst downward 
person to investigate these matters, said that water refuted. 
was the first principle of things, but that god was 
the mind that moulded all things out of water — 
supposing that gods can exist without sensation ; 
and why did he make mind an adjunct of water, if 
mind can exist by itself, devoid of body } The view 
of Anaximander is that the gods are not everlasting 
but are born and perish at long intervals of time, 
and that they are worlds, countless in number. But 
how can we conceive of god save as Uving for ever ? 

26 Next, Anaximenes held that air is god, and that it has 
a beginning in time, and is immeasurable and infinite 
in extent, and is always in motion ; just as if fonnless 
air could be god, especially seeing that it is proper to 
god to possess not merely some shape but the most 
beautiful shape ; or as if anything that has had a 
beginning must not necessarily be mortal. XI. Then 
there is Anaxagoras, the successor of Anaximenes ; 
he was the first thinker to hold that the orderly dis- 
position of the universe is designed and perfected by 
the rational power of an infinite mind. But in saying 
this he failed to see that there can be no such thing 
as sentient and continuous activity in that which is 
infinite, and that sensation in general can only occur 
when the subject itself becomes sentient by the 
impact of a sensation. Further, if he intended his 
infinite mind to be a definite Uving creature, it must 
have some inner principle of Ufe to justify the name. 



tur ; quid autem interius mente ? cingetur^ igitur 

27 corpore externo ; quod quoniam non placet, aperta 
simplexque mens, nulla re adiuncta qua^ sentire 
possit, fugere intellegentiae nostrae \dm et notionem 
videtur. Crotoniates autem Alcmaeo, qui soli et 
lunae reliquisque sideribus animoque praeterea divini- 
tatem dedit, non sensit sese mortalibus rebus in- 
mortalitatem dare. Nam Pythagoras, qui censuit 
animum esse per naturam rerum omnem intentum et 
commeantem ex quo nostri animi carperentur, non 
vidit distractione humanorum animorum discerpi et 
lacerari deum, et cum miseri animi essent, quod 
plerisque contingeret, tum dei partem esse miseram, 

28 quod fieri non potest. Cur autem quicquam ignoraret 
animus hominis, si esset deus ? quo modo porro deus 
iste, si nihil esset nisi animus, aut infixus aut infusus 
esset in mundo ? Tum Xenophanes, qui mente 
adiuncta omne propterea^ quod esset infinitum deum 
voluit esse,de ipsa mente itemreprehenditurut ceteri, 
de infinitate autem vehementius, in qua nihil neque 
sentiensneque coniunctumpotestesse. NamParmeni- 
des quidem commenticium quiddam* coronae simile 
efficit ((TT€(j)di'r]v appellat), continentem ardorum^ lucis 
orbem qui cingit® caelum, quem appellat deum ; in 
quo neque figuram divinam neque sensum quisquam 
suspicari potest, multaque eiusdem monstra, quippe 
qui bellum, qui discordiam, qui cupiditatem ceteraque 
generis eiusdem ad deum revocet, quae vel morbo 

^ cingetur Jst : cingatur. 

* qua St. Avgustine : quae. 

' propterea Reid : praeterea. 

• larn P. quiddam commenticium ? ed, 

^ ardorum pr. B : ardorem. 

* cingat Ernesti. 



But mind is itself the innermost principle. Mind 
therefore will have an outer integument of body. 

27 But this Anaxagoras will not allow ; yet mind naked 
and simple, without any material adjunct to serve 
as an organ of sensation, seems to elude the capacity 
of our understanding. Alcmaeon of Croton, who 
attributed divinity to the sun, moon and other 
heavenly bodies, and also to the soul, did not perceive 
that he was besto^ving immortahty on things that 
are mortal. As for Pythagoras, who believed that 
the entire substance of the universe is penetrated 
and pervaded by a soul of which our souls are frag- 
ments, he failed to notice that this severance of the 
souls of men from the world-soul means the dis- 
memberment and rending asunder of god; and that 
when their souls areunhappy,as happens to most men, 
then a portion of god is unhappy ; which is impossible. 

28 Again, if the soul of man is divine, why is it not 
omniscient ? Moreover, if the Pythagorean god is 
pure soul, how is he implanted in, or diffused through- 
out, the world? Next, Xenophanes endowed the uni- 
verse with mind, and held that, as being infinite, it 
was god. His view of mind is as open to objection 
as that of the rest ; but on the subject of infinity 
he incurs still severer criticism, for the infinite can 
have no sensation and no contact with anything 
outside. As for Parmenides, he invents a purely 
fanciful something resembhng a crown — stephane 
is his name for it — , an unbroken ring of glowing hghts, 
encirchng the sky, which he entitles god ; but no 
one can imagine this to possess divine form, or 
sensation. He also has many other portentous 
notions ; he deifies war, strife, lust and the hke, things 
which can be destroyed by disease or sleep or forget- 



vel somno vel oblivione vel vetustate delentur ; 
eademque de sideribus, quae reprehensa in alio iam 

29 in hoc omittantur. XII. Empedocles autem multa 
alia peccans in deorum opinione turpissume labitur. 
Quattuor enim naturas ex quibus omnia constare 
censet divinas esse vult ; quas et nasci et extingui 
perspicuum est et sensu omni carere. Nec vero 
Protagoras, qui sese negat omnino de deis habere 
quod liqueat, sint non sint qualesve sint, quicquam 
videtur de natura deorum suspicari. Quid ? Demo- 
critus, qui tum imagines earumque circumitus in 
deorum numerum^ refert, tum illam naturam quae 
imagines fundat ac mittat, tum scientiam- intelle- 
gentiamque nostram, nonne in maximo errore ver- 
satur } cum idem omnino, quia nihil semper suo 
statu maneat, negat^ esse quicquam sempiternum, 
nonne deum omnino ita tolUt ut nuUam opinionem 
eius reUquam faciat ? Quid ? aer, quo Diogenes 
ApoUoniates utitur deo, quem sensum habere potest 

30 aut quam formam dei ? lam de Platonis incon- 
stantia longum est dicere, qui in Timaeo patrera huius 
mundi nominari neget posse, in Legum autem Ubris, 
quid sit omnino deus anquiri oportere non censeat. 
Quod* vero sine corpore uUo deum vult esse (ut 
Graeci dicunt do-oj/xaroi'), id quale esse possit inteUegi 
non potest : careat enim sensu necesse est, careat 
etiam prudentia, careat voluptate ; quae omnia una 

* numerum Lambinus : numero. 

* scientiam dett. : sententiam sensum ; ci. Plasherg. 
' negat pr. B : neget. 

* Quod . . . comprehendimus infra post Idem . . . re- 
pugnantia transponenda Mayor. 

' See infra, § 120 n. 
* Timaeus 28 o. « Laws vii. 821. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xi.— xii. 

fulness or lapse of time; and he also deifies the stars, 

but this has been criticized in another philosopher 

and need not be dealt with now in the case of 

29 Parmenides. XII. Empedocles again among many 

other blunders comes to grief most disgracefuUy in 

his theology. He assigns divinity to the four sub- 

stances which in his system are the constituent 

elements of the universe, althouo-h manifestly these 

substances both come into and pass out of existence, 

and are entirely devoid of sensation. Protagoras also, 

who declares he has no clear views whatever about the 

gods, whether they exist or do not exist, or what 

they are hke, seems to have no notion at all of the 

divine nature. Then in what a maze of error is 

Democritus " involved, who at one moment ranks as 

gods his roving ' images,' at another the substance 

that emits and radiates these images, and at another 

again the scientific intelligence of man ! At the same 

time his denial of immutabihty, and therefore of 

eternity, to everything whatsoever surely involves a 

repudiation of deity so absolute as to leave no con- 

ception of a divine being remaining ! Diogenes of 

Apollonia makes air a god ; but how can air 

30 have sensation, or di\"inity in any shape ? The in- 

consistencies of Plato are a long story. In the 

Timaeus ^ he says that it is impossible to name the 

father of this universe ; and in the Lajvs ^ he depre- 

cates all inquiry into the nature of the deity. 

Again,^ he holds that god is entirely incorporeal 

(in Greek, asomatos) ; but divine incorporeity is 

inconceivable, for an incorporeal deity would 

necessarily be incapable of sensation, and also 

of practical wisdom, and of pleasure, all of which 

* This sentence should probably foilow :he next one. 



cum deorum notione comprehendimus. Idem et in 
Timaeo dicit et in Legibus et mundum deum esse 
et caelum et astra et terram et animos et eos quos 
maiorum institutis accepimus ; quae et per se sunt 
falsa perspicue et inter se vehementer repugnantia. 

31 Atque etiam Xenophon paucioribus verbis eadem 
fere peccat ; facit enim in iis quae a Socrate dicta 
rettuHt Socratem disputantem formam dei quaeri 
non oportere, eundemque et solem et animum deum 
dicere, et modo unum tum autem plures deos ; 
quae sunt isdem in erratis fere quibus ea quae de 

32 Platone diximus. XIII. Atque etiam Antisthenes 
in eo hbro qui Physicus inscribitur popularis deos 
multos naturalem unum esse dicens tolht vim et 
naturam deorum. Nec multo secus Speusippus 
Platonem avunculum subsequens et vim quandam 
dicens qua omnia regantur, eamque animalem, evel- 

33 lere ex animis conatur cognitionem deorum. Aristo- 
telesque in tertio de philosophia hbro multa turbat 
a magistro suo^ Platone <non>2 dissentiens ; modo 
enim menti tribuit omnem divinitatem, modo mun- 
dum ipsum deum dicit esse, modo ahum quendam 
praeficit mundo eique eas partis tribuit ut rephca- 
tione quadam mundi motum regat atque tueatur, 

1 suo dett. : uno y/, B. ^ Manutius. 

" The Memorahilia. 

* One of the popular treatises of Aristotle not now extant, 
quotcd i. 107, ii. 37, 42, 44, 51, 95. 

« The insertion of the ncgative is a probable emcnda- 
tion, since the identification of the Peripatetic doctrines with 


DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xii.— xiii. 

are attributes essential to our conception of deit}\ 
Yet both in the Timaeus and the Laws he says that 
the world, the sky, the stars, the earth and our 
souls are gods, in addition to those in whom 
we have been taught to believe by ancestral 
tradition ; but it is obvious that these propositions 
are both inherently false and mutually destructive. 

11 Xenophon also commits almost the same errors, 
though in fewer words ; for in his memoir" of the 
sayings of Socrates he represents Socrates as arguing 
that it is wrong to inquire about the form of god, 
but also as saying that both the sun and the soul are 
god, and as speaking at one moment of a single god 
and at another of several : utterances that involve 
almost the same mistakes as do those which we 

}2 quoted from Plato. XIII. Antisthenes also, in his 
book entitled The Natural Philosopker, says that while 
there are many gods of popular behef, there is one 
god in nature, so depriving divinity of all meaning 
or substance. Very similarly Speusippus, foUowing 
his uncle Plato, and speaking of a certain force that 
governs all things and is endowed with life, does his 
best to root out the notion of deity from our minds 

13 altogether. And Aristotle in the Third IBook of his 
Philosophy ^ has a great many confused notions, <not><' 
disagreeing with the doctrines of his master Plato ; 
at one moment he assigns divinity exclusively to the 
intellect, at another he says that the world is itself a 
god, then again he puts some other being over the 
world, and assigns to this being the role of regulating 
and sustaining the world-motion by means of a sort 

those of Plato was made by Antiochus, and is often pro- 
pounded by Cicero (Mayor) ; although it is true that it Ls 
not appropriate to the Epicurean speaker here (Plasberg). 



tum caeli ardorem deum dicit esse, non intellegens 
caelum mundi esse partem quem alio loco ipse 
designarit deum. Quo modo autem caeli divinus ille 
sensus in celeritate tanta conservari potest ? ubi 
deinde illi tot di, si numeramus etiam caelum deum ? 
cum autem sine corpore idem vult esse deum, omni 
illum sensu privat, <privat>^ etiam prudentia. Quo 
porro modo [mundus]^ moveri carens corpore, aut 
quo modo semper se movens esse quietus et beatus 

34 potest ? Nec vero eius condiscipulus Xenocrates in 
hoc genere prudentior, cuius in libris qui sunt de 
natura deorum nuUa species divina describitur ; deos 
enim octo esse dicit, quinque eos qui in stellis vagis 
moventur,^ unum qui ex omnibus sideribus quae infixa 
caelo sunt ex dispersis quasi membris simplex sit 
putandus deus, septimum solem adiungit octavamque 
lunam ; qui quo sensu beati esse possint, intellegi 
non potest. Ex eadem Platonis schola Ponticus 
HeracHdes pueriUbus fabidis refersit hbros et [tamen] 
modo^ mundum, tum mentem divinam esse putat, 
errantibus etiam stelHs divinitatem tribuit, sensuque 
deum privat et eius formam mutabilem esse vult, 
eodemque in Ubro rursus terram et caelum refert in 

35 deos. Nec vero Theophrasti inconstantia ferenda 
est ; modo enim menti divinum tribuit principatum, 
modo caelo, tum autem signis sideribusque caelesti- 

^ ci. Plasherg. ^ Heindorf. 

^ moventur Reid : nominantur. 

* [tamen] modo edd. : tum modo, tum dett. : modo 
mundum, tum autem Diecklioff. 

*• Aristotle explained the apparently irregular motions of 
the planets by ascribing to them distinct spheres rotating in 
opposite directions; the counter-rotation was aveLXt^ts, of 


of inverse rotation " ; then he says that the celestial 
heat'' is god — not reahzing that the heavens are a 
part of that world which elsewhere he himself has 
entitled god. But how could the divine consciousness 
which he assigns to the heavens persist in a state of 
such rapid motion ? Where moreover are all the gods 
of accepted beUef, if we count the heavens also as a 
god ? Again, in maintaining that god is incorporeal, 
he robs him entirely of sensation, and also of wisdom. 
Moreover, how is motion possible for an incorporeal 
being, and how, if he is always in motion, can he 

H enjoy tranquilhty and bUss ? Nor was his feUow-pupil 
Xenocrates any wiser on this subject. His volumes 
On the Nature of the Gods give no inteUigible account 
of the divine form ; for he states that there are eight 
gods : five inhabiting the planets, and in a state of 
motion ; one consisting of aU the fixed stars, which 
are to be regarded as separate members constituting 
a single deity ; seventh he adds the sun, and eighth 
the moon. But what sensation of bUss these beings 
can enjoy it is impossible to conceive. Another mem- 
ber of the school of Plato, HeracUdes of Pontus, fiUed 
volume after volume with childish fictions ; at one 
moment he deems the world divine, at another the 
inteUect ; he also assigns divinity to the planets, and 
holds that the deity is devoid of sensation and 
mutable of form ; and again in the same volume he 

35 reckons earth and sky as gods. Theophrastus also is 
intolerably inconsistent ; at one moment he assigns 
divine pre-eminence to mind, at another to the 
heavens, and then again to the constellations and stars 

which replicatio here is perhaps a translation, although how 
it could be assigned to the universe is obscure. 
* Ihe aether. 



bus. Nec audiendus eius auditor Strato, is qul 
physicus appellatur, qui omnem vim divinam in 
natura sitam esse censet, quae causas gignendi 
augendi minuendi habeat sed careat omni et sensu 
et figura. 

36 XIV. " Zeno autem, ut iam ad vestros, Balbe, 
veniam, naturalem legem di^inam esse censet, eam- 
que vim obtinere recta imperantem prohibentem- 
que contraria. Quam legem quo modo efficiat 
animantem intellegere non possumus ; deum autem 
animantem certe volumus esse. Atque hic idem aHo 
loco aethera deum dicit — si intellegi potest nihil 
sentiens deus, qui numquam nobis occurrit neque in 
precibus neque in optatis neque in votis ; ahis autem 
hbris rationem quandam per omnem^ naturam rerum 
pertinentem vi divina esse adfectam putat. Idem 
astris hoc idem tribuit, tum annis mensibus annorum- 
que mutationibus. Cum vero Hesiodi Theogom'am, 
id est originem deorum, interpretatur, tolht omnino 
usitatas perceptasque cognitiones deorum ; neque 
enim lovem neque lunonem neque Vestam neque 
quemquam qui ita appellatur^ in deorum habet 
numero, sed rebus inanimis atque mutis per quandam 

37 significationem haec docet tributa nomina. Cuius 
discipuh Aristonis non minus magno in errore sen- 
tentia est, qui neque formam dei intellegi posse 
censeat neque in deis sensum esse dicat, dubitetque 
omnino deus animans necne sit. Cleanthes autem, 
qui Zenonem audivit una cum eo quem proxime 
nominavi, tum ipsum mundum deum dicit esse, tum 

1 omnem dett. : omnium. 
2 appellatur dett. : appelletur. 

• Cf. M. AureUus v. 32 6 StA ttjj/ ovalav diifKuv \&yos, 

DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xiii.— xiv. 

in the heavens. Nor is his pupil, Strato, surnamed 
the Natural Philosopher, worthy of attention ; in his 
view the sole repository of divine power is nature, 
which contains in itself the causes of birth, growth and 
decay, but is entirely devoid of sensation and of form. 

I XIV. " Lastly, Balbus, I come to your Stoic school. 
Zeno's view is that the law of nature is divine, and 
that its function is to command what is right and to 
forbid the opposite. How he makes out this law to 
be aHve passes our comprehension ; yet we un- 
doubtedly expect god to be a Hving being. In 
another passage however Zeno declares that the 
aether is god — if there is any meaning in a god 
without sensation, a form of deity that never presents 
itself to us when we offer up our prayers and sup- 
pHcations and make our vows. And in other books 
again he holds the view that a * reason ' which per- 
vades aD nature " is possessed of divine power. He 
Hke^\ise attributes the same powers to the stars, or 
at another time to the years, the months and the 
seasons. Again, in his interpretation of Hesiod's 
Theogony (or Origin of the Gods) he does away with 
the customary and received ideas of the gods alto- 
gether, for he does not reckon either Jupiter, Juno 
or Vesta as gods, or any being that bears a personal 
name, but teaches that these names have been 
assigned aHegoricaHy to dumb and Hfeless things. 

1 Zeno's pupil Aristo holds equally mistaken views. 
He thinks that the form of the deity cannot be com- 
prehended, and he denies the gods sensation, and 
in fact is uncertain whether god is a Hving being at 
all. Cleanthes, who attended Zeno's lectures at the 
same time as the last-named, at one moment says 
that the world itself is god, at another gives tliis 



totius naturae menti atque animo tribuit hoc nomen, 
tum ultimum et altissimum atque undique circum- 
fusum et extremum omnia cingentem atque con- 
plexum ardorem, qui aether nominetur, certissimum 
deum iudicat ; idemque quasi dehrans, in iis Ubris 
quos scripsit contra voluptatem, tum fingit formam 
quandam et speciem deorum, tum divinitatem om- 
nem tribuit astris, tum nihil ratione censet esse 
di\dnius. Ita fit ut deus ille quem mente noscimus 
atque in animi notione tamquam in vestigio volumus 

38 reponerenusquam prorsus appareat. XV. At Persaeus 
eiusdem Zenonis auditor eos esse^ habitos deos a 
quibus ahqua magna utiUtas ad vitae cultum esset 
inventa, ipsasque res utiles et salutares deorum esse 
vocabuhs nuncupatas, ut ne hoc quidemdiceret,illa in- 
venta esse deorum, sed ipsa divina ; quo quid absurdius 
quam aut res sordidas atque deformis deorum honore 
adficere aut homines iam morte deletos reponere in 
deos, quorum omnis cultus esset futurus in luctu ? 

39 lam vero Chrysippus, qui Stoicorum somniorum 
vaferrumus habetur interpres, magnam turbam con- 
gregat ignotorum deorum, atque ita ignotorum ut 
eos ne coniectura quidem informare possimus, cum 
mens nostra quidvis videatur cogitatione posse 
depingere, ait enim vim divinam in ratione esse 
positam et in universae naturae animo atque mente, 
ipsumque mundum deum dicit esse et eius animi 
fusionem universam, tum eius ipsius principatum qui 
in mente et ratione versetur, communemque rerum 

» eos dicit esse det, 

DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xiv.— xv. 

name to the mind and soul of the miiverse, and at 
another decides that the most unquestionable deity 
is that remote all-surrounding fiery atmosphere called 
the aether, which encircles and embraces the universe 
on its outer side at an exceedingly lofty altitude ; 
while in the books that he wrote to combat hedonism 
he babbles Hke one demented, now imagining gods 
of some definite shape and form, now assigning 
full divinity to the stars, now pronouncing that 
nothing is more di^-ine than reason. The result is 
that the god whom we apprehend by our intelhgence, 
and desire to make to correspond with a mental 
concept as a seal taUies ^\ith its impression, has 

38 utterly and entirely vanished. XV. Persaeus, another 
pupil of Zeno, says that men have deified those per- 
sons who have made some discovery of special utility 
for civlhzation, and that useful and health-gi\ing 
things have themselves been called by divine names ; 
he did not even say that they were discoveries of 
the gods, but speaks of them as actually divine. But 
what could be more ridiculous than to award diviiie 
honours to things mean and ugly, or to give the rank 
of gods to men now dead and gone, whose worship 

B9 could only take the form of lamentation ? Chrysippus, 
who is deemed to be the most skilful interpreter of 
the Stoic dreams, musters an enormous mob of un- 
known gods — so utterly unknown that even imagina- 
tion cannot guess at their form and nature, although 
our mind appears capable of visuahzing anything ; 
for he says that divine power resides in reason, and 
in the soul and mind of the universe ; he calls the 
world itself a god, and also the all-pervading world- 
soul, and again the guiding principle of that soul, 
which operates in the intellect and reason, and 



naturam [universam] atque^ omnia continentem, 
tum fatalem vim^ et necessitatem rerum futurarum, 
ignem praeterea [et]^ eum quem ante dixi aethera, 
timi ea quae natura fluerent atque manarent, ut* et 
aquam et terram et aera. solem lunam sidera uni- 
tatemque^ rerum qua omnia continerentur, atque 
etiam homines eos qui inmortahtatem essent con- 

40 secuti. Idemque disputat aethera esse eum quem 
homines lovem appellarent, quique aer per maria 
manaret eum esse Xeptunum, terramque eam esse 
quae Ceres diceretur, simihque ratione persequitur 
vocabula rehquorum deorum. Idemque® etiam legis 
perpetuae et aeternae vim, quae quasi dux vitae et 
magistra officiorum sit, lovem dicit esse, eandemque 
fatalem necessitatem appellat <et>' sempiternam 
rerum futurarum veritatem ; quorum nihil tale est ut 

41 in eo \as divina inesse videatur. Et haec quidem in 
primo hbro de natura deorum ; in secundo autem volt 
Orphei Musaei Hesiodi Homerique fabellas accom- 
modare ad ea quae ipse primo hbro de deis inmortaH- 
bus dixerat,^ ut etiam veterrimi poetae, qui haec ne 
suspicati quidem sint,^ Stoici fuisse videantur. Quem 
Diogenes Babylonius consequens in eo hbro qui 
inscribitur de Minervapartum lovis ortumque virginis 
ad physiologiam traducens diiungit a fabula. 

42 XVI. " Exposui fere non philosophorum iudicia sed 
dehrantium somnia. Nec enim multo absurdiora sunt 
ea quae poetarum vocibus fusa ipsa suavitate nocue- 
runt, qui et ira inflammatos et hbidine furentis 

^ [universam] atque Pearson : universitatemque Heindorf. 

2 vim det. : orbem ; umbram von Arnim,following be-et mss. 

3 secl. Bouhier. * ut <aethera> ci. Plasberg. 

^ unitatemque Pearson : universitatemque. 

• eundemque Rohy. ' add. Bouhier. 

8 dixerit A, B : dixit Nobbe. » sunt dett. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xv.— xvi. 

the common and all-embracing nature of things ; 
and also the power of Fate, and the Necessity that 
governs future events ; beside this, the fire that I 
previously termed aether ; and also all fluid and 
soluble substances, such as water, earth, air, the 
sun, moon and stars, and the all-embracing unity 
of things ; and even those human beings who have 

40 attained immortahty. He also argues that the 
god whom men call Jupiter is the aether, and that 
Neptune is the air which permeates the sea, and the 
goddess called Ceres the earth ; and he deals in the 
same way with the whole series of the names of the 
other gods. He also identifies Jupiter with the mighty 
Law, everlasting and etemal, which is our guide of 
hfe and instructress in duty, and which he entitles 
Necessity or Fate, and the Everlasting Truth of future 
events ; none of which conceptions is of such a 

41 nature as to be deemed to possess divinity. This is 
what is contained in his Nature of the Gods, Book I. 
In Book n. he aims at reconcihng the myths of 
Orpheus, Musaeus, Hesiod and Homer with his o-vvn 
theology as enunciated in Book I., and so makes 
out that even the earJiest poets of antiquity, who 
had no notion of these doctrines, were really Stoics. 
In this he is followed by Diogenes of Babylon, who 
in his book entitled Minerva rationahzes the myth of 
the birth of the virgin goddess from Jove by ex- 
plaining it as an allegory of the processcs of nature. 

42 XVI. " I have given a rough account of what are Tiieologyof 
more hke the dreams of madmen than the considered ^°^^^. ^"^, 

• • ^ 1 .1 1 -r> 1 T 1 1 ofonental 

opimons oi philosophers. ror they are httle iess reiigion 
absurd than the outpourings of the poets, harmful ^^°"^- 
as these have been owing to the mere charm of their 
style. The poets have represented the gods as in- 



induxerunt deos feceruntque ut eorum bella proelia 
pugnas vulnera videremus, odia praeterea discidia 
discordias, ortus interitus, querellas lamentationes, 
effusas in omni intemperantia^ libidines, adulteria, 
\Tincula, cum humano genere concubitus mortalisque 

43 ex inmortali procreatos. Cum poetarum autem 
errore coniungere licet portenta magoriun Aegyptio- 
rumque in eodem genere dementiam, tum etiam 
vulgi opiniones, quae in maxima inconstantia veritatis 
ignoratione versantur. 

" Ea qui consideret quam inconsulte ac temere 
dicantur, venerari Epicurum et in eorum ipsorum 
numero de quibus haec quaestio est habere debeat. 
Solus enim \-idit primum esse deos, quod in omnium 
animis eorum notionem inpressisset ipsa natura. 
Quae est enim gens aut quod genus hominum, quod 
non habeat sine doctrina anticipationem quandam 
deorum ? quam appellat TrfjoXrj^piv Epicurus, id est 
anteceptam animo rei quandam informationem, sine 
qua nec intellegi quicquam nec quaeri nec disputari 
possit.2 Cuius rationis vim atque utilitatem ex illo 
caelesti Epicuri de regula et iudicio volumine accepi- 

44 mus. XVII. Quod igitur fundamentum huius quaes- 
tionis est, id praeclare iactum videtis. Cum enim 
non instituto aliquo aut more aut lege sit opinio 
constituta maneatque ad unum omnium firma con- 
sensio, intellegi necesse est esse deos, quoniam insitas 
eorum vel potius innatas cognitiones habemus ; de 
quo autem omnium natura consentit, id verum esse 

* omnem intemperantiam ? ed. 
2 possit dett. : potest A^ B. 

• C/. Lucr. V. 8 "deus ille fuit, deus, inclute Memmi.*' 
^ Diog. L. X. 27 U.€pl KpLTTjpiov Tj Kavdiv, 


DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xvi.— x\ii. 

flamed by anger and maddened by lust, and have 
displayed to our gaze their wars and battles, their 
fights and wounds, their hatreds, enmities and quar- 
rels, their births and deaths, their complaints and 
lamentations, the utter and unbridled hcence of their 
passions, their adulteries and imprisonments, their 
unions with human beings and the birth of mortal 

3 progeny from an immortal parent. With the errors 
of the poets may be classed the monstrous doctrines 
of the magi and the insane mythology of Egypt, and 
also the popular behefs, which are a mere mass of 
inconsistencies sprung from ignorance. 

" Anyone pondering on the baseless and irrational Exposition 
character of these doctrines ought to regard Epicurus tifo^o^Ly^^^ 
with reverence, and to rank him as one of the very Universai 
gods about whom v>e are inquiring.'* For he alone per- suffldent 
ceivedjfirstjthat the gods exist,because nature herself proof of the 
has imprinted a conception of them on the minds of ence, and ' 
all mankind. For what nation or what tribe of men ?f their 

1 , . , immortality 

is there but possesses untaught some preconception and biiss. 
of the gods .'' Such notions Epicurus designates by 
the word prolepsis, that is, a sort of preconceived 
mental picture of a thing, without which nothing 
can be understood or investigated or discussed. The 
force and value of this argument we learn in that 
work of genius, Epicurus's Rule or Standard of Judge- 

4 ment.^ X\TL You see therefore that the foundation 
(for such it is) of our inquiry has been well and truly 
laid. For the behef in the gods has not been estab- 
Ushed by authority, custom or law, but rests on the 
unanimous and abiding consensus of mankind ; their 
existence is therefore a necessary inference, since we 
possess an instinctive or rather an innate concept of 
them ; but a beUef which all men by nature share 



necesse est ; esse igitur deos confitendum est. Quod 
quoniam fere constat inter omnis non philosophos 
solum sed etiam indoctos, fateamur constare illud 
etiam, hanc nos habere sive anticipationem ut ante 
dixi sive praenotionem deorum (sunt enim rebus 
novis nova ponendanomina, ut Epicurus ipse TrpoXrjij/LV 
appellavit, quam antea nemo eo verbo nominarat) — 
45 hanc igitur habemus, ut deos beatos et inmortales 
putemus. Quae enim nobis natura informationem 
ipsorum deorum dedit, eadem insculpsit in mentibus 
ut eos aeternos et beatos haberemus. Quod si ita 
est, vere exposita illa sententia est ab Epicuro, quod 
beatum aeternumque sit id nec habere ipsum negotii 
quicquam nec exhibere alteri, itaque neque ira neque 
gratia teneri quod quae talia essent imbecilla essent 

** Si nihil ahud quaereremus nisi ut deos pie 
coleremus et ut superstitione hberaremur, satis erat 
dictum ; nam et praestans deorum natura hominum 
pietate coleretur, cum et aeterna esset et beatissima 
(habet enim venerationem iustam quicquid excellit), 
et metus omnis a vi atque ira deorum pulsus esset 
(intellegitur enim a beata inmortalique natura et 
iram et gratiam segregari, quibus remotis nullos a 
superis impendere metus). Sed ad hanc confirman- 

• Diog. L. X. 139 t6 fj.aK6.piov koI &<p6apTou o{jt€ avTb vpdy' 
fiaTa e^et o(jt€ d\X(f) irapex^'; G}(TT€ oOre dpyals oCtc x^P'-'^'- <'"'"" 
^^^■'■a.t' iv aoOevd yap irav Tb toiovtov. 



must necessarily be true ; therefore it must be 
admitted that the gods exist. And since this truth 
is almost universally accepted not only among phil- 
osophers but also among the unlearned, we must 
admit it as also being an accepted truth that we 
possess a ' preconception,' as I called it above, or 
* prior notion,' of the gods. (For we are bound to 
employ novel terms to denote novel ideas, just as 
Epicurus himself employed the word prolepsis in a 
45 sense in which no one had ever used it before.) We 
have then a preconception of such a nature that we 
beUeve the gods to be blessed and immortal. For 
nature, which bestowed upon us an idea of the 
gods themselves, also engraved on our minds the 
behef that they are eternal and blessed. If this 
is so, the famous maxim ^ of Epicurus truthfully 
enunciates that * that which is blessed and eternal 
can neither know trouble itself nor cause trouble 
to another, and accordingly cannot feel either anger 
or favour, since all such things belong only to the 

" If we sought to attain nothing else beside piety such goda 
in worshipping the gods and freedom from super- ^^^^'^ 
stition, what has been said had sufficed ; since the passion, 
exalted nature of the gods, being both eternal and twshipped 
supremely blessed, would receive man's pious worship f"' °°^ 
(for what is highest commands the reverence that is 
its due) ; and furthermore all fear of the divine 
power or divine anger would have been banished 
(since it is understood that anger and favour ahke are 
excluded from the nature of a being at once blessed 
and immortal, and that these being ehminated we are 
menaced by no fears in regard to the powers above). 
But the mind strives to strengthen this beHef by 



dam opinionem anquirit animus et formara et vitae 
actionem mentisque agitationem^ in deo. 

46 X^^III. " Ac de forma quidem partim natura nos 
admonet, partim ratio docet. Nam a natura habemus 
omnes omnium gentium speciem nullam aliam nisi 
humanam deorum ; quae enim forma alia occurrit 
umquam aut \-igilanti cuiquam aut dormienti ? Sed 
ne omnia revocentur ad primas notiones, ratio hoc 

47 idem ipsa declarat. Nam cum praestantissumam 
naturam, vel quia beata est vel quia sempiterna, 
convenire videatur eandem esse pulcherrimam, quae 
conpositio membrorum, quae conformatio Uniamen- 
torum, quae figura, quae species humana potest esse 
pulchrior ? Vos quidem, Lucih, soletis (nam Cotta 
meus modo hoc modo illud), cum artificium effingitis 
fabricamque divinam, quam sint omnia in hominis 
figura non modo ad usum verum etiam ad venustatera 

48 apta describere. Quodsi omnium animantium for- 
mam vincit hominis figura, deus autem animans est, 
ea figura profecto est quae pulcherrima est omnium, 
quoniamque deos beatissimos esse constat, beatus 
autem esse sine virtute nemo potest nec virtus sine 
ratione constare nec ratio usquam inesse nisi in 
hominis figura, hominis esse specie deos confitendum 

49 est. Nec tamen ea species corpus est, sed quasi 
corpus, nec habet sanguinem, sed quasi sanguinem. 

XIX. " Haec quamquam et inventa sunt acutius et 
dicta subtihus ab Epicuro, quam ut quivis ea possit 
agnoscere, tamen fretus intellegentia vestra dissero 

^ vitae . . . agitationem Beier : vitam et actionem mentis 
atque agitationem mss, : vitam et actionem mentisque agita- 
tionem Elvenich, 

DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xvii.— xix. 

tiying to discover the form of god, the mode of his 
activity, and the operation of his inteUigence. 

46 X\'III. " For the divine form we have the hints ThegodB 
of nature supplemented by the teachings of reason. they^are in 
From nature all men of all races derive the notion of human 
gods as having human shape and none other ; for in impercept- 
what other shape do they ever appear to anyone, ggj^^ 
awake or asleep ? But not to make primar)- concepts 

the sole test of all things, reason itself dehvers the 

47 same pronouncement. For it seems appropriate that 
the being who is the most exalted, whether by reason 
of his happiness or of his eternity, should also be 
the most beautiful ; but what disposition of the hmbs, 
what cast of features, what shape or outhne can be 
more beautiful than the human form ? You Stoics 
at least, Lucihus, (for my friend Cotta says one thing 
at one time and another at another) are wont to por- 
tray the skill of the divine creator by enlarging on 
the beauty as well as the utiUty of design displayed 

48 in all parts of the human figure. But if the human 
figure surpasses the fomi of all other U™g beings, 
and god is a Uving being, god must possess the shape 
which is the most beautiful of aU ; and since it is 
agreed that the gods are supremely happy, and no 
one can be happy without virtue, and virtue cannot 
exist without reason, and reason is only found in the 
human shape, it foUows that the gods possess the 

49 form of man. Yet their form is not corporeal, but 
only resembles bodily substance ; it does not contain 
blood, but the semblance of blood. 

XIX. " These discoveries of Epicurus are so acute 
in themselves and so subtly expressed that not every- 
one would be capable of appreciating them. StiU I 
may rely on your inteUigence, and make my exposi- 



brevius quam causa desiderat. Epicurus autem, qui 
res occultas et penitus abditas non modo videat 
animo sed etiam sic tractet ut manu, docet eam esse 
vim et naturam deorum ut primum non sensu sed 
mente cernantur,^ nec soliditate quadam nec ad 
numerum, ut ea quae ille propter firmitatem o-Te/ac/xvia 
appellat, sed imaginibus similitudine et transitione 
perceptis, cum infinita simillumarum imaginum series^ 
ex innumerabilibus individuis existat et ad deos' 
adfluat, cum maximis voluptatibus in eas imagines 
mentem intentam infixamque nostram intellegentiam 

60 capere quae sit et beata natura et aeterna. Summa 
vero vis infinitatis et magna ac diligenti contem- 
platione dignissima est, in qua intellegi necesse est 
eam esse naturam ut omnia omnibus paribus paria 
respondeant. Hanc lcrovofxLav appellat Epicurus, id 
est aequabilem tributionem. Ex hac igitur illud 
efficitur, si mortalium tanta multitudo sit, esse 
inmortalium non minorem, et si quae interimant 
innumerabilia sint, etiam ea quae conservent infinita 
esse debere. 

" Et quaerere a nobis, Balbe, soletis, quae vita 

61 deorum sit quaeque ab iis degatur aetas. Ea vide- 
licet qua nihil beatius, nihil omnibus bonis aflfluentius 
cogitari potest. Nihil enim agit, nulhs occupationibus 
est inphcatus, nulla opera moHtur, sua sapientia et 

^ cernantur B : cernatur. 

* series Brieger : species. 

■ ad eos B : a deo, ad nos, a diis ad nos edd, 

• Probably to be altered into * streams to us from the gods.* 


tion briefer than the subject demands. Epicums 
then, as he not merely discerns abstruse and recondite 
things with his mind's eye, but handles them as 
tangible reahties, teaches that the substance and 
nature of the gods is such that, in the first place, it 
is perceived not by the senses but by the mind, and 
not materially or individually, hke the solid objects 
which Epicurus in virtue of their substantiahty en- 
titles steremnia ; but by our perceiving images owing 
to their similarity and succession, because an endless 
train of precisely similar images arises from the 
innumerable atoms and streams towards the gods, <» 
our mind with the keenest feehngs of pleasure fixes 
its gaze on these images, and so attains an under- 
standing of the nature of a being both blessed and 

60 eternal. Moreover there is the supremely potent Divine 
principle of infinity, which claims the closest and most p^ove?by*' 
careful study ; we must understand that it has principie of 
the foUowing property, that in the sum of things librhiin.' 
everything has its exact match and counterpart. 

This property is termed by Epicurus isonomia, or the 
principle of unifomi distribution. From this prin- 
ciple it follows that if the whole number of mortals 
be so many, there must exist no less a number of 
immortals, and if the causes of destruction are beyond 
count, the causes of conservation also are bound to 
be infinite. 

" You Stoics are also fond of asking us, Balbus, what The divlna 
is the mode of hfe of the gods and how they pass their di3tu?id 

61 days. The answer is, their life is the happiest con- by creating 
ceivable, and the one most bountifully furnished with directing 
all good things. God is entirely inactive and free from ^hich^gcis 
all ties of occupation ; he toils not neither does he by nature, 
labour, but he takes delight in his own ^visdom and moJemeni * 



virtute gaudet, habet exploratum fore se semper cum 
52 in maximis tum in aeternis voluptatibus. XX. Hunc 
deum rite beatum dixerimus, vestrum vero laboriosis- 
simum. Sive enim ipse mundus deus est, quid potest 
esse minus quietum quam nullo puncto temporis 
intermisso versari circum axem caeli admirabili 
celeritate ? nisi quietum autem nihil beatum est ; 
sive in [ipso]^ mundo deus inest aliquis qui regat, 
qui gubernet, qui cursus astrorum mutationes tem- 
porum rerum vicissitudines ordinesque conservet,^ 
terras et maria contemplans hominum commoda 
vitasque tueatur, ne ille est inpHcatus molestis 
63 negotiis et operosis ! Nos autem beatam vitam in 
animi securitate et in omnium vacatione munerum 
ponimus. Docuit enim nos idem qui cetera, natura 
effectum esse mundum, nihil opus fuisse fabrica, 
tamque eam rem esse facilem quam vos effici negatis 
sine divina posse sollertia, ut innumerabihs natura 
mundos effectura sit efficiat effecerit. Quod quia 
quem ad modum natura efficere sine ahqua mente 
possit non videtis, ut tragici poetae cum exphcare 
argumenti exitum non potestis confugitis ad deum ; 
54 cuius operam profecto non desideraretis si inmensam 
et interminatam in omnis partis magnitudinem 
regionum videretis, in quam se iniciens animus et 
intendens ita late longeque peregrinatur ut nuham 
tamen oram ultimi^ videat in qua possit insistere. In 

^ Schomann. 
2 conservet < et > Davies. 
^ ultimam Davies. 

* The deus ex machlna introducerl near the end of some 
Greek tragedies, to cut the knot of the plot, was proverbial. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xix.— xx. 

virtue, and knows with absolute certainty that heoftheatoms 
will always enjoy pleasures at once consummate and and^noJ^by 
/52 everlasting. XX. This is the god whom we should fate. 
call happy in the proper sense of the term ; your 
Stoic god seems to us to be grievously overworked. 
If the world itself is god, what can be less restful than 
to revolve at incredible speed round the axis of the 
heavens without a single moment of respite ? but 
repose is an essential condition of happiness. If on 
the other hand some god resides within the world as 
its governor and pilot, maintaining the courses of the 
stars, the changes of the seasons and all the ordered 
process of creation, and keeping a watch on land and 
sea to guard the interests and Uves of men, why, what 
a bondage of irksome and laborious business is his ! 

63 We for our part deem happiness to consist in tran- 
quilHty of mind and entire exemption from all duties. 
For he who taught us all the rest has also taught U3 
that the world was made by nature, without needing 
an artificer to construct it, and that the act of crea- 
tion, which according to you cannot be performed 
without di^ine sldll, is so easy, that nature ^\ill 
create, is creating and has created worlds without 
number. You on the contrary cannot see how nature 
can achieve all this without the aid of some intelli- 
gence, and so, like the tragic poets, being unable to 
bring the plot of your drama to a denouement, you 

64 have recourse to a god " ; whose intervention you 
assuredly would not require if you would but con- 
template the measureless and boundless extent of 
space that stretches in every direction, into which 
when the mind projects and propels itself, it journeys 
onward far and wide ^^ithout ever sighting any 
margin or ultimate point where it can stop. Well 



hac igitur inmensitate latitudinum longitudinum 
altitudinum infinita \as innumerabilium volitat ato- 
morum, quae interiecto inani cohaerescunt tamen 
inter se et aliae alias adprehendentes continuantur ; 
ex quo efficiuntur eae rerum formae et figurae quas 
vos effici posse sine folHbus et incudibus non putatis, 
itaque inposuistis in cervicibus nostris sempiternum 
dominum, quem dies et noctes timeremus : quis 
enim non timeat omnia providentem et cogitantem 
et animadvertentem et omnia ad se pertinere 

65 putantem curiosum et plenum negotii deum ? Hinc 
vobis extitit primum illa fatahs necessitas quam 
elixapjxkv-qv dicitis, ut quicquid accidat id ex aeterna 
veritate causarumque continuatione fluxisse dicatis. 
Quanti autem haec philosophia aestimanda est cui 
tamquam anicuhs, et iis quidem indoctis, fato fieri vi- 
deantur omnis ? Sequitur iJ.avTiKrj vestra, quae Latine 
divinatio dicitur, qua tanta inbueremur super- 
stitione, si vos audire vellemus, ut haruspices, augures, 

56 harioH, vates, coniectores nobis essent colendi. His 
terroribus ab Epicuro soluti et in hbertatem vindicati 
nec metuimus eos quos intellegimus nec sibi fingere 
ullam molestiam nec alteri quaerere, et pie sancteque 
cohmus naturam excellentem atque praestantem. 

" Sed elatus studio vereor ne longior fuerim. 
Erat autem difficile rem tantam tamque praeclaram 
inchoatam rehnquere ; quamquam non tam dicendi 
ratio mihi habenda fuit quam audiendi." 

67 XXI. Tum Cotta comiter ut solebat : " Atqui," 


DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xx.— xxi. 

then, in this immensity of length and breadth and 
height there flits an infinite quantity of atoms in- 
numerable, which though separated by void yet 
cohere together, and taking hold each of another form 
unions wherefrom are created those shapes and forms 
of things which you think cannot be created without 
the aid of bellows and anvils, and so have saddled us 
with an eternal master, whom day and night we are 
to fear ; for who would not fear a prying busybody of a 
god, who foresees and thinks of and notices all things, 

5 and deems that everything is his concern ? An out- 
come of this theology was first of all your doctrine of 
Necessity or Fate, heimarmene, as you termed it, the 
theory that every event is the result of an eternal 
truth and an unbroken sequence of causation. But 
what value can be assigned to a philosophy which 
thinks that everything happens by fate ? it is a belief 
for old women, and ignorant old women at that. 
And next follows your doctrine of mantike, or Divina- 
tion, which would so steep us in superstition, if we 
consented to hsten to you, that we should be the 
devotees of soothsayers, augurs, oracle-mongers, 

6 seers and interpreters of dreams. But Epicurus has 
set us free from superstitious terrors and dehvered us 
out of capti\dty, so that we have no fear of beings 
who, we know, create no trouble for themselves and 
seek to cause none to others, while we worship \\\\h. 
pious reverence the transcendent majesty of nature. 

" But I fear that enthusiasm for my subject has 
made me prolix. It was difficult however to leave 
80 vast and splendid a theme unfinished, although 
really it was not my business to be a speaker so 
much as a Hstener." 

7 XXI. Then Cotta took up the discussion. " Well, 



inquit, " Vellei, nisi tu aliquid dixisses, nihil sane ex 
me quidem audire potuisses. Mihi enim non tam 
facile in mentem venire solet quare verum sit aliquid 
quam quare falsum ; idque cum saepe tum cum te 
audirem paulo ante contigit. Roges me qualem 
naturam deorum esse ducam, nihil fortasse respon- 
deam ; quaeras putemne talem esse qualis modo a 
te sit exposita, nihil dicam mihi videri minus. Sed 
ante quam adgrediar ad ea quae a te disputata sunt, 

68 de te ipso dicam quid sentiam. Saepe enim de [L. 
Crasso]^ famihari illo tuo videor audisse cum te togatis 
omnibus sine dubio anteferret,^ paucos tecum Epi- 
cureos e Graecia compararet ; sed quod ab eo te 
mirifice dihgi intellegebam, arbitrabar illum propter 
benivolentiam uberius id dicere. Ego autem, etsi 
vereor laudare praesentem, iudico tamen de re 
obscura atque difficili a te dictum esse dilucide, neque 
sententiis solum copiose sed verbis etiam ornatius 

69 quam solent vestri. Zenonem, quem Philo noster 
coryphaeum appellare Epicureorum solebat, cimi 
Athenis essem audiebam frequenter, et quidem ipso 
auctore Philone — credo ut faciUus iudicarem quam 
illa bene refellerentur cum a principe Epicureorum 
accepissem quem ad modum dicerentur. Non igitur 
ille ut plerique, sed isto modo ut tu, distincte graviter 

^ fL. Crasso] om. A : nomen Epkurei ctdusdam excidisse 
suspicatur Mayor. ^ anteferret et dett. 

" This name is inserted by some mss., but Crassus in JDe 
oratore, iii. 77 f., is made to disclaim any special knowledge 
of philosophy. Probably the nanie of some philosopher 
resident in Velleius's house has been lost. 



Velleius," he rejoined, with his usual suavity, " unless Epicarean 
you had stated a case, you certainly would have had demo?5hed 
no chance of hearing anything from me. I always ^J Cotta 
find it much easier to think of arguments to prove '~^" 
a thing false than to prove it true. This often 
happens to me, and did so just now while I was 
hstening to you. Ask me what I think that the 
divine nature is hke, and very probably I shall make 
no reply ; but inquire whether I beheve that it re- 
sembles the description of it which you have just 
given, and I shall say that nothing seems to me less 
likely. But before proceeding to examine your argu- 

58 ments, I v,n.\l give my opinion of yourself. I fancy He compu- 
I have often heard that friend of yours [Lucius ™^"^ 
Crassus] ° declare that of all the Roman adherents of 
Epicureanism he placed you unquestionably first, 

and that few of those from Greece could be ranked 
beside you ; but knowing his extraordinary esteem 
for you, I imagined that he was speaking with the 
partiahty of a friend. I myself however, though re- 
luctant to praise you to your face, must nevertheless 
pronounce that your exposition of an obscure and 
difficult theme has been most illuminating, and not 
only exhaustive in its treatment of the subject, but 
also graced with a charm of style not common in 

59 your school. ¥, hen at Athens, I frequently attended 
the discourses of Zeno, whom our friend Philo used 
to call the leader of the Epicurean choir ; in fact it 
was Philo who suggested that I should go to him — 
no doubt in order that I might be better able to 
judge how completely the Epicurean doctrine may 
be refuted when I had heard an exposition of it from 
the head of the school. Now Zeno, unhke most 
Epicureans, had a style as clear, cogent and elegant 



ornate. Sed quod in illo mihi usu saepe venit, idem 
modo cum te audirem accidebat, ut moleste ferrem 
tantum ingenium (bona venia me audies) in tam 
leves, ne dicam in tam ineptas sententias incidisse. 

60 Nec ego nunc ipse aliquid adferam melius. Ut enim 
modo dixi, omnibus fere in rebus sed maxime in 
physicis quid non sit citius quam quid sit dixerim. 
XXII. Roges me quid aut quale sit deus, auctore 
utar Simonide, de quo cum quaesivisset hoc idem 
tyrannus Hiero, deliberandi sibi unum diem postu- 
lavit ; cum idem ex eo postridie quaereret, biduum 
petivit ; cum saepius dupHcaret numerum dierum 
admiransque Hiero requireret cur ita faceret, ' Quia 
quanto diutius considero,' inquit, * tanto mihi res 
videtur obscurior.' Sed Simoniden arbitror (non 
enim poeta solum suavis verum etiam ceteroqui doctus 
sapiensque traditur) quia multa venirent in mentem 
acuta atque subtiha, dubitantem quid eorum esset 

61 verissimum desperasse omnem veritatem. Epicurus 
vero tuus (nam cum illo malo disserere quam tecum) 
quid dixit^ quod non modo philosophia dignum esset 
sed mediocri prudentia ? 

** Quaeritur primum in ea quaestione quae est de 
natura deorum, sintne di necne sint. * Difficile est 
negare.* Credo si in contione quaeratur, sed in huius 

^ dixit {vel sit citm dett., pro esset) Lamhinus : dicit. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xxi.— xxii. 

as your o^vn. But what often occurred to me in his 
case happened just now while I was Hstening to 
you : I felt annoyed that talents so considerable 
should have chanced to select (if you will forgive my 
saying it) so trivial, not to say so stupid, a set of 

60 doctrines. Not that I propose at the moment to 
contribute something better of my own. As I said 

just now, in almost all subjects, but especially in Cotta'» 
natural philosophy, I am more ready to say wliat is be^crj^^^ 
not true than what is. XXII. Inquire of me as to notcon- 
the being and nature of god, and I shall follow the ^^'^*^^^®* 
example of Simonides, who having the same ques- 
tion put to him by the great Hiero, requested a 
day's grace for consideration ; next day, when Hiero 
repeated the question, he asked for two days, and so 
went on several times multiplying the number of 
days by two ; and when Hiero in surprise asked 
why he did so, he repHed, * Because the longer I 
dehberate the more obscure the matter seems to me.' 
But Simonides is recorded to have been not only a 
charming poet but also a man of learning and wisdom 
in other fields, and I suppose that so many acute 
and subtle ideas came into his mind that he could 
not decide which of them was truest, and therefore 

61 despairedof truthaltogether. But as for your master 
Epicurus (for I prefer to join issue with him rather 
than wdth yourself), which of his utterances is, I do 
not say worthy of philosophy, but compatible with 
ordinary common sense ? 

" In an inquiry as to the nature of the gods, the 
first question that we ask is, do the gods exist or do 
they not ? * It is difficult to deny their existence.' 
No doubt it would be if the question were to be 
asked in a pubHc assembly, but in private conversa- 



modi sermone et consessu facillimum. Itaque ego 
ipse pontifex, qui caerimonias religionesque publicas 
sanctissime tuendas arbitror, is hoc quod primum 
est, esse deos, persuaderi mihi non opinione solum sed 
etiam ad veritatem plane velim. Multa enim occur- 
runt quae contm^bent, ut interdum nulh esse videan- 

32 tur. Sed vide quam tecum agam Hberahter : quae 
communia sunt vobis cum ceteris philosophis non 
attingam, ut hoc ipsum ; placet enim omnibus fere 
mihique ipsi in primis deos esse, itaque non pugno. 
Rationem tamen eam quae a te adfertur non satis 
firmam puto. XXIII. Quod enim omnium gentium 
generumque hominibus ita videretur, id satis magnum 
argumentum esse dixisti cur esse deos confiteremur. 
Quod cum leve per se tum etiam falsum est. Primum 
enim unde tibi notae sunt opiniones nationum ? Equi- 
dem arbitror multas esse gentes sic imnanitate effe- 

63 ratas ut apud eas nulla suspicio deorum sit. Quid, 
Diagoras, a$€os qui dictus est, posteaque Theodorus 
nonne aperte deorum naturam sustulerunt } Nam Ab- 
derites quidem Protagoras, cuius a te modo mentio 
facta est, sophistes temporibus ilHs vel maximus, cum 
in principio Hbri sic posuisset, * De divis, neque ut 
sint neque ut non sint, habeo dicere,' Atheniensium 
iussu urbe atque agro est exterminatus Hbrique eius 
in contione combusti ; ex quo equidem existimo 

• Cicero a])pears to mistranslate the Greek irepl ixh dewv 
ovK ix'^ eiohaL oHd' wj eialv oiO' ws ovk eiaiv Diog. L. ix« 
51 (' either thcU they exist or that they do not '). 

DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xxii.— xxiii. 

tion and in a conipany like the prescnt it is perfectly 
easy. This being so, I, who am a high priest, and 
who hold it to be a duty most solemnly to maintain 
the rights and doctrines of the estabhshed rehgion, 
should be glad to be convinccd of this fundamental 
tenet of the divine existence, not as an article of 
faith merely but as an ascertained fact. For many 
disturbing reflections occur to my mind, which some- 
times make me think that there are no gods at all. 

l But mark how generously I deal with you. I will 
not attack those tenets which are shared by your 
school with all other philosophers — for example the 
one in question, since almost all men, and I myself 
no less than any other, beUeve that the gods exist, 
and this accordingly I do not challenge. At the 
same time I doubt the adequacy of the argument 
which you adduce to prove it. XXIII. You said that (i) Argu- 
a sufficient reason for our admitting that the gods universai 
exist was the fact that all the nations and races of conseut 
mankind beheve it. But this argument is both in- unfoiinded 
conclusive and untrue. In the first place, how do ^^ ^^°^ 
you know what foreign races believe ? For my part 
I think that there are many nations so unciviHzed 
and barbarous as to have no notion of any gods at 

3 all. Again, did not Diagoras, called the Atheist, 
and later Theodorus openly deny the divine exist- 
ence ? Since as for Protagoras of Abdera, the greatest 
sophist of that age, to whom you just now alluded, 
for beginning a book Mith the words * About the 
gods I am unable to affirm either how ° they exist or 
how they do not exist,' he was sentenced by a decree 
of the Athenian assembly to be banished from the 
city and from the country, and to have his books 
burnt in the market-place : an example that I can 
^ 61 


tardiores ad hanc sententiam profitendam multos esse 
factos, quippe cum poenam ne dubitatio quidem 
effugere potuisset. Quid de sacrilegis, quid de impiis 
periurisque dicemus ? 

Tubulus si Lucius umquam, 
si Lupus aut Carbo aut^ Neptuni filius, 

ut ait Lucilius, putasset esse deos, tam periurus aut 

64 tam inpurus fuisset ? Non est igitur tam explorata 
ista ratio ad id quod vultis confirmandum quam 
videtur. Sed quia commune hoc est argumentum 
aliorum etiam philosophorum, omittam hoc tempore ; 
ad vestra propria venire malo. 

65 " Concedo esse deos ; doce me igitur unde sint, ubi 
sint, quales sint corpore animo vita ; haec enim scire 
desidero. Abuteris ad omnia atomorum regno et 
licentia ; hinc quodcumque in solum venit, ut dicitur, 
effingis atque efficis. Quae primum nullae sunt. Nihil 
est enim . . .^ quod vacet corpore ; corporibus autem 
omnis obsidetur locus; ita nullum inane, nihil esse 

66 individuum potest. XXIV. Haec ego nunc physi- 
corum oracula fundo, vera an falsa nescio, sed veri 
tamen simihora quam vestra. Ista enim flagitia 
Democriti sive etiam ante Leucippi, esse corpuscula 

^ aut secl. Jos. Scaliger. * lacunam Lamhinus. 

■ Proverbial for a rough, savage character. 

^ Or perhaps ' that meets the loot.' 

" A considerable number of words seem to have been 
lost here. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xxiii.— xxiv. 

well believe has discouraged niany people since from 
professing atheism, since the mcre expression of 
doubt did not succeed in escaping punishment. WTiat 
are we to say about the men guilty of sacrilege or 
impiety or perjury ? 

Suppose that ever Lucius Tubulus, 
Lupus or Carbo, or some son of Neptune," 

as LuciHus has it, had believed in the gods, would 
14 he have been such a perjurer and scoundrel ? We 
find then that your argument is not so well-estab- 
lished a proof of the view which you uphold as you 
imagine it to be. Still, as it is a hne of reasoning 
that is followed by other philosophers as well, I will 
pass it over for the present, and turn rather to 
doctrines pecuHar to your school. 
16 "I grant the existence of the gods : do you then (2) Argu- 
teach me their orio-in, their dweUing-place, their atomism 
bodily and spiritual nature, their mode of Hfe ; for l^^^^^^ '• 
these are the things which I want to know. In regard doctrine 
to all of them you make great play with the lawless °PP°'^.^ ^ 
domination of the atoms ; from these you construct 
and create everything that comes upon the ground,^ 
as they say. Now in the first place, there are no 
such things as atoms. For there is nothing . . . ^ in- 
corporeal, but all space is fiUed with material bodies ; 
hence there can be no such thing as void, and no such 
56 thing as an indivisible body. XXIV. In all of this 
I speak for the time being only as the mouthpiece 
of our oracles of natural philosophy ; whether their 
utterances are true or false I do not know, but at all 
events they are more probable than those of your 
school. As for the outrageous doctrines of Demo- 
critus, or perhaps of his predecessor Leueippus, that 



quaedam^ levia, alia aspera, rotunda alia, partim 
autem angulata, curvata^ quaedam et quasi ad- 
unca, ex his effectum esse caelum atque terram nuUa 
cogente natura sed concursu quodam fortuito — hanc 
tu opinionem, C. Vellei, usque ad hanc aetatem per- 
duxisti, priusque te quis de omni vitae statu quam 
de ista auctoritate deiecerit ; ante enim iudicasti 
Epicureum te esse oportere quam ista cognovisti : 
ita necesse fuit aut haec flagitia concipere animo aut 

67 susceptae philosophiae nomen amittere. Quid enim 
mereas ut Epicureus esse desinas ? * Nihil equidem ' 
inquis ' ut rationem vitae beatae veritatemque 
deseram.' Ista igitur est veritas? Nam de vita 
beata nihil repugno, quam tu ne in deo quidem esse 
censes nisi plane otio langueat. Sed ubi est veritas ? 
In mundis credo innumerabilibus omnibus minimis 
temporum punctis aUis nascentibus ahis cadentibus ; 
an in individuis corpusculis tam praeclara opera 
nulla moderante natura, nulla ratione fingentibus? 
Sed obhtus Uberahtatis meae qua tecum paulo ante 
uti coeperam, plura complector. Concedam igitur ex 
individuis constare omnia : quid ad rem ? deorum 

68 enim natura quaeritur. Sint sane ex atomis ; non 
igitur aeterni. Quod enim ex atomis, id natum 
aliquando est ; si nati,^ nulli dei ante quam nati ; 

^ quaedam, <alia> Reid. 

* curvata B : firamata A, hamata edd. 

3 nati deft., natum A, B. 



there are cerlain miniite particles, some smooth, 
others rough, some round, some angular, some curved 
or hook-shaped, and that heaven and earth were 
created from these, not by compulsion of any natural 
law but by a sort of accidental coUiding — this is the 
behef to which you, Gaius Velleius, have clung all 
your hfe long, and it would be easier to make you 
alter all your principles of conduct than abandon the 
teachings of your master ; for you made up your 
mind that Epicureanism claimed your allegiance 
before you learned these doctrines : so that you were 
faced with the alternative of eitlier accepting tliese 
outrageous notions or surrendering the title of the 
17 school of your adoption. For what would you 
take to cease to be an Epicurean ? ' For no con- 
sideration,' you reply, ' would I forsake the principles 
of happiness and the truth.' Then is Epicureanism 
the truth ? For as to happiness I don't join issue, since 
in your view even divine happiness involves being 
bored to death with idleness. But where is the truth 
to be found ? I suppose in an infinite number of 
worlds, some coming to birth and others hurled into 
ruin at every minutest moment of time ? or in the 
indivisible particles that produce all the marvels of 
creation ^Wthout any controlhng nature or reason ? 
But I am forffettinsr the indul^ence which I be^^an to 

o o o o 

show you just now, and am taking too wide a range. 
I will grant therefore that everything is made out of 
indivisible bodies ; but this takes us no farther, for 
)8 we are trying to discover the nature of the gods. Sup- inconsi.nent 
pose we allow that the gods are made of atoms : then y>th divine 
it follows that they are not eternal. For what is made !!'}'." ^ 
of atoms came into existence at some time ; but ir' 
the gods came into existence, before tliey came into 



et si ortus est deorum, interitus sit necesse est, ut 
tu paulo ante de Platonis mundo disputabas. Ubi 
igitur illud vestrum beatum et aeternum, quibus 
duobus verbis significatis deum ? quod cum efficere 
vultis, in dumeta conrepitis ; ita enim dicebas, non 
corpus esse in deo sed quasi corpus, nec sanguinem 
sed tamquam sanguinem. 
69 XXV. " Hoc persaepe facitis, ut cum aliquid non 
veri simile dicatis et effugere reprehensionem velitis 
adferatis aliquid quod omnino ne fieri quidem possit, 
ut satius fuerit illud ipsum de quo ambigebatur con- 
cedere quam tam inpudenter resistere. Velut Epicu- 
rus cum \dderet. si atomi ferrentur in locum inferio- 
rem suopte pondere, nihil fore in nostra potestate, 
quod esset earum motus certus et necessarius, invenit 
quo modo necessitatem effugeret, quod videhcet 
Democritum fugerat : ait atomum, cum pondere et 
gravitate directo deorsus feratur, dechnare paululum. 
70 Hoc dicere turpius est quam illud quod vult non posse 
defendere. Idem facit contra dialecticos; a quibus 
cum traditum sit in omnibus diiunctionibus in quibus 
' aut etiam aut non ' poneretur alterum utrum esse 
verum, pertimuit ne si concessum esset huius modi 
aliquid ' aut vivet cras aut non vivet Epicurus,' 
alterutrum fieret necessarium : totum hoc * aut etiam 
« Above, § 49, 


DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xxiv.— xxv. 

existence there were no gods ; and if the gods had 
a beginning, they niust also perish, as you were 
arguing a Uttle time ago about the world as conceived 
by Plato. Where then do we find that happiness and 
that eternity which in your system are the two catch- 
words that denote divinity ? When you wish to 
make this out, you take cover in a thicket of jargon ; 
you gave us the formula just now ° — God has not 
body but a semblance of body, not blood but a kind 
of blood. 
9 XXV. " This is a very common practice with your 
school. You advance a paradox, and then, when you 
want to escape censure, you adduce in support of it 
some absolute impossibihty ; so that you would have 
done better to abandon the point in dispute rather 
than to offer so shameless a defence. For instance, Doctrine oi 
Epicurus saw that if the atoms travelled downwards ^bsord^»"'* 
by their own weight, we should have no freedom of 
the will, since the motion of the atoms would be deter- 
mined by necessity. He therefore invented a device 
to escape from determinism (the point had apparently 
escaped the notice of Democritus) : he said that the 
atom while travelUng verticaUy downward by the 
force of gravity makes a very sUght swerve to one 
ro side. This defence discredits him more than if he 

had had to abandon his original position. He does andsols^ 
the same in his battle with the logicians. Their wjc"'^^^'''' 
accepted doctrine is that in every disjunctive pro- 
position of the form ' so-and-so either is or is not,' one 
of the two alternatives must be true. Epicurus took 
alarm ; if such a proposition as ' Epicurus either will 
or will not be aUve to-morrow' were granted, one or 
other alternative would be necessary. Accordincfly 
he denied the necessity of a disjunctive proposition 



aut non * negavit esse necessarium ; quo quid dici 
potuit obtusius ? Urguebat Arcesilas Zenonem, cum 
ipse falsa omnia diceret quae sensibus viderentur, 
Zenon autem nonnulla visa esse falsa, non omnia ; 
timuit Epicurus ne si unum visum esset falsum 
nullum esset verum : omnis sensus veri nuntios dixit 
esse. Nihil horum nimis callide^ ; graviorem enim 
plagam accipiebat ut leviorem repelleret. 

71 " Idem facit in natura deorum ; dum individuorum 
corporum concretionem fugit ne interitus et dissipatio 
consequatur, negat esse corpus deorum sed tamquam 
corpus, nec sanguinem sed tamquam sanguinem. 
XXVI. Mirabile videtur quod non rideat haruspex 
cum haruspicem viderit ; hoc mirabiUus, quod^ vos 
inter vos risum tenere potestis.^ ' Non est corpus 
sed quasi corpus ' : hoc intellegerem quale esset 
si in ceris* fingeretur aut fictilibus figuris ; in deo 
quid sit quasi corpus aut quid sit quasi sanguis 
intellegere non possum. Ne tu quidem, Vellei, sed 
non vis fateri. 

72 *' Ista enim a vobis quasi dictata redduntur quae 
Epicurus oscitans halucinatus est, cum quidem 
gloriaretur, ut videmus in scriptis, se magistrum 
habuisse nuUum. Quod etiam^ non praedicanti 
tamen facile equidem crederem, sicut mali aedificii 
domino glorianti se architectum non habuisse ; nihil 
enim olet ex Academia, nihil ex Lycio, nihil ne 
e puerilibus quidem discipHnis. Xenocraten audire 

^ nimis callide Allen : fi callide, nisi callide dett.^ nisi ualde 

2 quod det.: quam (quam <ut> . . . possitis Plasberg). 
^ potestis ed. : possitis. * cereis dett. 

^ etiam dett. : et A, B, ei Klotz. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xxv.— xxvi. 

altogether. Now what could be stupider than that ? 
Arcesilas used to attack Zeno because, whereas he 
himself said that all sense-presentations are false, 
Zeno said that some were false, but not all. Epicurus 
feared that if a single sensation were admitted to be 
false, none would be true : he therefore said that all 
the senses give a true report. In none of these cases 
did he behave very cleverly, for to parry a hghter blow 
he laid himself open to one that was more severe. 

" He does the same as regards the nature of the (3) Anthro- 
gods. In his desire to avoid the assumption of a cSticSd'^"" 
dense cluster of atoms, which would involve the <^§§ ^-102). 
possibiUty of destruction and dissipation, he says that corporeal 
the gods have not a body but a semblance of body, f^^j'^^ ^.^ 
and not blood but a semblance of blood. XXVI. It gibie. 
is thought surprising that an augur can see an augur 
without smihng ; but it is more surprising that you 
Epicureans keep a grave face when by yourselves. 
* It is not body but a semblance of body.' I could 
understand what this supposition meant if it related 
to waxen ima^es or fio^ures of earthenware. but what 
' a semblance of body ' or ' a semblance of blood * 
may mean in the case of god, I cannot understand ; 
nor can you either, \"elleius, only you won't admit it. 

" The fact is that you people merely repeat by rote 
the idle vapourings that Epicurus uttered when half 
asleep ; for, as we read in his MTitings, he boasted 
that he had never had a teacher. This I for my part 
could well believe, even if he did not proclaim it, just 
as I believe the owner of an ill-built house when he 
boasts that he did not employ an architect ! He 
shows not the faintest trace of the Academy or the 
Lyceum, or even of the ordinary schoolboy studies. 
He might have heard Xenocrates — by heaven, what 



potuit (quem \-irum, di immortales) ; et sunt qui 
putent audisse, ipse non vult — credo plus nemini. 
Pamphilum quendam Platonis auditorem ait a se 
Sami auditum (ibi enim adulescens habitabat cum 
patre et fratribus, quod in eam^ pater eius Neocles 
agripeta venerat, sed cum agellus eum non satis 

73 aleret, ut opinor ludi magister fuit) ; sed hunc 
Platonicum mirifice contemnit Epicurus ; ita metuit 
ne quid umquam didicisse videatur. In Nausiphane 
Democriteo tenetur ; quem cum a se non neget 
auditum, vexat tamen omnibus contumeUis ; atqui 
si haec Democritea non audisset, quid audierat ? 
quid enim est^ in physicis Epicuri non a Democrito ? 
Nam etsi quaedam commutavit, ut quod paulo ante 
de inchnatione atomorum dixi, tamen pleraque dicit 
eadem, atomos inane imagines, infinitatem locorum 
innumerabihtatemque mundorum, eorum ortus in- 
teritus, omnia fere quibus naturae ratio continetur. 

74 "Nuncistuc ' quasi corpus ' et ' quasi sanguinem* 
quid intellegis ? Ego enim te scire ista mehus 
quam me non fateor solum sed etiam facile patior ; 
cum quidem' semel dicta sunt, quid est quod Velleius 
intellegere possit, Cotta non possit ? Itaque corpus 
quid sit, sanguis quid sit intellego, quasi corpus et 
quasi sanguis quid sit nullo prorsus modo intellego. 
Neque tu me celas ut Pythagoras solebat ahenos, 

^ eam < insulam > Plasberg. 
• enim est ed. : est ^, B^ enim dett. ' autem ? ed. 



a master ! — and some people think that he did, but he 

himself denies it, and he ought to know ! He states 
that he heard a certain Pamphilus, a pupil of Plato, at 
Samos (where he resided in his youth with his father 
and brother — his father Neocles had gone there to 
takeup landjbut faihng tomakeahvingout of hisfarm, 

rs I beheve kept a school). However Epicurus pours 
endless scorn on this Platonist, so afraid is he of 
appearing ever to have learnt anything from a teacher. 
He stands convicted in the case of Nausiphanes, a 
follower of Democritus, whom he does not deny he 
heard lecture, but whom nevertheless he assails with 
every sort of abuse. Yet if he had not heard from 
him these doctrines of Democritus, what had he 
heard ? for what is there in Epicurus's natural philo- 
sophy that does not come from Democritus ? Since 
even if he introduced some alterations, for instance 
the swerve of the atoms, of which I spoke just now, 
yet most of his system is the same, the atoms, the void, 
the images, the infinity of space, and the countless 
number of worlds, their births and their destructions, 
in fact almost everything that is comprised in natural 

14c " As to your formula ' a semblance of body ' and 
* a semblance of blood,' what meaning do you attach 
to it ? That you have a better knowledge of the 
matter than I have I freely admit, and what is more, 
am quite content that this should be so ; but once it 
is expressed in words, why should one of us be able 
to understand it and not the other? Well then, I do 
understand what body is and what blood is, but what 
' a semblance of body ' and ' a semblance of blood * 
are I don't understand in the very least. You are 
not trying to hide the truth from me, as Pythagoras 



nec consulto dicis occulte tamquam Heraclitus, sed, 
quod inter nos liceat, ne tu quidem intellegis. 

75 XX\7I. Illud \ddeo pugnare te, species ut quaedam 
sit deorum quae nihil concreti habeat nihil soUdi 
nihil expressi nihil eminentis, sitque pura levis 
perlucida. Dicemus igitur idem quod in Venere Coa : 
corpus illud non est sed simile corporis, nec ille fusus 
et candore mixtus rubor sanguis est sed quaedam 
sanguinis simiHtudo ; sic in Epicureo deo non res 
sed simiUtudines rerum esse. Fac id quod ne inteUegi 
quidem potest mihi esse persuasum ; cedo mihl 
istorum adumbratorum deorum Uniamenta atque 

76 formas. Non deest hoc loco copia rationum quibus 
docere veUtis humanas esse formas deorum ; primum 
quod ita sit informatum anticipatumque menti- 
bus nostris ut homini, cum de deo cogitet, forma 
occurrat humana ; deinde quod, quoniam rebus 
omnibus exceUat natura divina, forma quoque esse 
pulcherrima debeat, nec esse humana uUam pul- 
chriorem ; tertiam rationem adfertis, quod nuUa in 

77 aUa figura domiciUum mentis esse possit. Primum 
igitur quidque considera quale sit ; arripere enim 
mihi videmini quasi vestro iure rem nuUo modo 
probabilem. < Primum^> omnium quis tam caecus 
in contemplandis rebus umquam fuit ut non videret 
species istas hominum conlatas in deos aut consiUo 

* Plasberg, 

DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xxvi.— xxvii. 

used to hide it from strangcrs, nor yet are you speak- 
ing obscurely on purpose likc Heraclitus, but (to 
speak candidly between ourselves) you don't under- 

75 stand it yourself any more than I do. XXVII. I am 
aware that what you maintain is that the gods possess 
a certain outward appearance, which has no firmness 
or sohdity, no definite shape or outhne, and which 
is free from gross admixture, volatile, transparent. 
Therefore we shall use the same language aswe should 
of the Venus of Cos : her's is not real flesh but the 
hkeness of flesh, and the manthng blush that dyes 
her fair cheek is not real blood but something that 
counterfeits blood ; similarly in the god of Epicurus 
we shall say that there is no real substance but some- 
thing that counterfeits substance. But assume that 
I accept as true a dogma that I cannot even under- 
stand : exhibit to me, pray, the forms and features 

J6 of your shadow-deities. On this topic you are at no 
loss for arguments designed to prove that the gods 
have the form of men : first because our minds 
possess a preconceived notion of such a character that, 
when a man thinks of god, it is the human form that 
presents itself to him ; secondly, because inasmuch 
as the divine nature surpasses all other things, the 
divine form also must needs be the most beautiful, 
and no form is more beautiful than that of man. 
The third reason you advance is that no other shape 

n is capable of being the abode of intelhgence. Well Anthropo- 
then, take these arguments one by one and consider do^ctrines 
what they amount to ; for in my view they are based '^"e to 
on an arbitrary and quite inadmissible assumption on superstition 
your part. First of all, was there ever any student °^ ^ainty. 
so bhnd as not to see that human shape has been thus 
assigned to the gods either by the dehberate con- 



quodam sapientium, quo facilius animos imperitorum 
ad deorum cultum a vitae pra^itate converterent, aut 
superstitione, ut essent simulacra quae venerantes 
deos ipsos se adire crederent ? Auxerunt autem haec 
eadem poetae, pictores, opifices ; erat enim non facile 
agentis aliquid et molientis deos in aliarum forma- 
rum imitatione servare. Accessit etiam ista opinio 
fortasse quod homini homine pulchrius nihil vide- 
batur.^ Sed tu hoc, physice, non vides, quam blanda 
conciHatrix et quasi sui sit lena natura ? An putas 
ullam esse terra marique beluam quae non sui ge- 
neris belua maxime delectetur ? Quod ni ita esset, 
cur non gestiret taurus equae contrectatione, equus 
vaccae ? An tu aquilam aut leonem aut delphinum 
ullam anteferre censes figuram suae ? Quid igitur 
mirum si hoc eodem modo homini natura praescripsit 
ut nihil pulchrius quam hominem putaret ? . . . ^ 
eam esse causam cur deos hominum simihs putaremus? 
78 " Quid censes si ratio^ esset in beluis? nonne* 
suo quasque generi plurimum tributuras fuisse ? 
XXVIII. At mehercule ego (dicam enim ut sentio) 
quamvis amem ipse me, tamen non audeo dicere 
pulchriorem esse me quam ille fuerit taurus qui vexit 
Europam ; non enim hoc loco de ingeniis aut de 
orationibus^ nostris sed de specie figuraque quaeritur. 
Quodsi fingere nobis et iungere formas veUmus, 

* videbatur {vel videtur) Schomann : videatur. 

2 lacunam suspic. Mayor. 

■ oratio Dum£snil. * nonne ed. : non. ^ rationibus ? ed. 

" Some words appear to have been lost here. 
* Perhaps the text should be corrected to ' speech.* 
" Perhaps the text should be corrected to ' rationaU* 

DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xx\ii.— xxviii. 

trivance of philosophers, the better to enable them 
to turn the hearts of the ignorant from vicious 
practices to the observance of rehgion, or by super- 
stition, to supply images for men to worship in the 
behef that in so doing they had direct access to the 
divine presence ? These notions moreover have been 
fostered by poets, painters and artificers, who found 
it difficult to represent hving and active deities in the 
hkeness of any other shape than that of man. Per- 
haps also man's beUef in his own superior beauty, to 
which you referred, may have contributed to the 
result. But surely you as a natural philosopher are 
aware what an insinuating go-between and pander 
of her o-VMi charms nature is ! Do you suppose that 
there is a single creature on land or in the sea which 
does not prefer an animal of its own species to any 
other ? If this were not so, why should not a bull 
desire to couple with a mare, or a horse with a cow ? 
Do you imagine that an eagle or hon or dolphin 
thinks any shape more beautiful than its own ? Is 
it then surprising if nature has hke^-ise taught man 
to think his own species the most beautiful . . .° that 
this was a reason why we should think the gods 
resemble man ? 
78 " Suppose animals possessed reason,^ do you not Anthropo- 

iT_ . 1 , 1 . ■ -L 11 1- • • morpbism 

thmk that they would each assign pre-emmence riero-atnry 
to their own species ? XXVIII. For my part I !f r^fi.^t"^Q^ 
protest (if I am to say what I think) that although 
I am not lacking in self-esteem yet I don't presume 
to call myself more beautiful than the famous bull 
on which Europa rode ; for the question is not here 
of our intellectual and oratorical ^ powers but of our 
outward form and aspect. Indeed if we choose to 
make imaginary combinations of shapes, would you 



qualis ille maritimus Triton pingitur, natantibus 
invehens beluis adiunctis humano corpori, nolis 
esse ? Difficih in loco versor ; est enim vis tanta 
naturae ut homo nemo velit nisi hominis simihs 

79 esse — et quidem formica formicae ; sed tamen cuius 
hominis ? quotus enim quisque formosus est ? 
Athenis cum essem, e gregibus epheborum \ix 
singuh reperiebantur — video quid adriseris, sed 
ita tamen se res habet. Deinde nobis, qui con- 
cedentibus philosophis antiquis adulescentuHs delec- 
tamur, etiam vitia saepe iucunda sunt. * Naevus in 
articulo pueri delectat ' Alcaeum ; at est corporis 
macula naevus ; ilh tamen hoc lumen \-idebatur. 
Q. Catulus, huius collegae et famiharis nostri pater, 
dilexit municipem tuum Roscium, in quem etiam 
illud est eius : 

constiteram exorientem Auroram forte salutans, 

cum subito a laeva Roscius exoritur. 
pace mihi liceat, caelestes, dicere vestra : 

mortalis visust pulchrior esse deo. 

Huic deo pulchrior ; at erat, sicuti hodie est, perver- 
sissimis ocuhs : quid refert, si hoc ipsum salsum ilU 
et venustum videbatur ? 

80 " Redeo ad deos. XXIX. Ecquos si non tam* 
strabones at paetulos esse arbitramur, ecquos naevum 
habere, ecquos silos flaccos frontones capitones, quae 

^ iam Ileinsius. 
" The Latin is part of a verse from an unknown source. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xxviii.— xxix. 

not like to resenible the merman Triton who is 
depicted riding upon swimming monsters attached 
to his man's body ? I am on tickhsh ground here, 
for natural instinct is so strong that every man 

79 wishes to be Hke a man and nothing else. Yes, and 
every ant hke an ant ! Still, the question is, hke 
what man ? How small a percentage of handsome 
people there are ! When I was at Athens, there was 
scarcely one to be found in each platoon of the train- 
ing-corps — I see why you smile, but the fact is so 
all the same. Another point : we, who with the 
sanction of the philosophers of old are fond of the 
society of young men, often find even their defects 
agreeable. Alcaeus ' admires a mole upon his 
favourite's wrist ' ** ; of course a mole is a blemish, but 
Alcaeus thought it a beauty. Quintus Catulus, the 
father of our colleague and friend to-day, was warmly 
attached to your fellow-townsman Roscius, and aetu- 
ally wrote the following verses in his honour : 

By chance abroad at dawn, I stood to pray 
To the uprising deity of day ; 
^^'hen lo ! iipon my left — propitious sight — 
Suddenly Roscius dawned in radiance bright. 
Forgive me, heavenly pow'rs, if I declare, 
Meseem'd the mortal than the god more fair. 

To Catulus, Roscius was fairer than a god. As a 
matter of fact he liad, as he has to-day, a pronounced 
squint ; but no matter — in the eyes of Catuhis this 
in itself gave him piquancy and charm. 

80 " I return to the gods. XXIX. Can we imagine any 
gods, I do not say as cross-eyed as Roscius, but with 
a shght cast ? Can we picture any of them with a 
mole, a snub nose, protruding ears, prominent brows 
and too large a head — defects not unknown among 



sunt in nobis ? an omnia emendata in illis ? 
Detur id vobis ; num etiam una est omnium facies ? 
nam si plures, aliam esse alia pulchriorem necesse 
est : igitur aliquis non pulcherrimus deus. Si^ una 
omniiun facies est, florere in caelo Academiam 
necesse est : si enim nihil inter deum et deum 
difFert, nulla est apud deos cognitio, nulla perceptio. 

81 " Quid si etiam, Vellei, falsum illud omnino est, 
nullam aham nobis de deo cogitantibus speciem 
nisi hominis occurrere ? tamenne ista tam absurda 
defendes ? Nobis fortasse sic occurrit ut dicis ; a 
parvis enim^ lovem lunonem IMinervam Neptunum 
Vulcanum Apolhnem rehquos deos ea facie novi- 
mus qua pictores fictoresque voluerunt, neque solum 
facie sed etiam ornatu aetate vestitu. At non 
Aegyptii nec Syri nec fere cuncta barbaria ; firmiores 
enim videas apud eos opiniones esse de bestiis 
quibusdam quam apud nos de sanctissimis temphs 

82 et simulacris deorum. Etenim fana multa spohata 
et simulacra deorum de locis sanctissimis ablata 
vidimus^ a nostris, at vero ne fando quidem auditum 
est crocodilum aut ibin aut faelem violatum ab 
Aegyptio. Quid igitur censes ? Apim iUum sanc- 
tum Aegyptiorum bovem nonne deum videri 
Aegyptiis ? Tam hercle quam tibi iham vestram 
Sospitam. Quam tu numquam ne in somnis quidem 

* sin ? ed. * a parvis enim I^^lotz : apparuisse. 

• vidimus Bouhier : videmus. 



us men — , or are they entirely free from personal 
blemishes ? Suppose we grant you that, are we 
also to say that they are all exactly ahke ? If not, 
there will be degrees of beauty among them, and 
therefore a god can fali short of supreme beauty. 
If on the other hand they are all alike, then the 
Academic school must }iave a large following in 
heaven, since if there is no difference between one 
god and another, among the gods knowledge and 
perception must be impossible. 

81 " Furthermore, Velleius, what if your assumption, Anthropo 
that when we think of god the only form that pre- "'orphic 
sents itself to us is that of a man, be entirely untrue ? not shared 
>\ill you nevertheless continue to maintain your ^^ ^ ^^^^ 
absurdities ? Very likely we Romans do imagine 

god as you say, because from our childhood Jupiter, 
Juno, JNlinerva, Neptune, ^'ulcan and Apollo have 
been kno^\Ti to us Mith the aspect with which painters 
and sculptors have chosen to represent them, and 
not with that aspect only, but having that equipment, 
age and dress. But they are not so known to the 
Egyptians or Syrians, or any almost of the uncivilized 
races. Among these you will find a behef in certain 
animals more hrmly established than is reverence for 
the holiest sanctuaries and images of the gods with 

82 us. For we have often seen temples robbed and 
images of gods carried off from the holiest shrines by 
our fellow-countrymen, but no one ever even heard 
of an Egyptian laying profane hands on a crocodile 
or ibis or cat. What therefore do you infer ? that 
the Egyptians do not believe their sacred buU Apis 
to be a god ? Precisely as much as you beheve the 
Sa^-iour Juno of your native place to be a goddess. 
You never see her even in your dreams unless 



vides nisi cum pelle caprina cum hasta cum scutulo 
cum calceolis repandis : at non est talis Argia nec 
Romana luno. Ergo alia species lunonis Argi\-is, 
alia Lanu^dniSj alia nobis.^ Et quidem alia nobis 

83 Capitolini, alia Afris Hammonis lovis. XXX. Non 
pudet igitur physicum, id est speculatorem venato- 
remque naturae, ab animis consuetudine inbutis 
petere testimonium veritatis ? Isto enim modo 
dicere Ucebit lovem semper barbatum, ApolUnem 
semper inberbem, caesios oculos Minervae, caeruleos 
esse Neptum'. Et quidem laudamus Athenis Volca- 
num eum quem fecit Alcamenes, in quo stante atque 
vestito leviter apparet claudicatio non deformis. 
Claudum igitur habebimus deum quoniam de Volcano 
sic accepimus. Age et his vocabuhs esse deos faci- 

84 mus^ quibus a nobis nominantur ? At primum, quot 
hominum hnguae, tot nomina deorum. Non enim, 
ut tu Velleius, quocumque veneris, sic idem in Itaha 
Volcanus, idem in Africa, idem in Hispania. Deinde 
nominum non magnus numerus ne in pontificiis 
quidem nostris, deorum autem innumerabihs. 
An sine nominibus sunt ? Istud quidem ita vobis 
dicere necesse est ; quid enim attinet, cum una 
facies sit, plura esse nomina ? Quam behum erat, 
VeUei, confiteri potius nescire quod nescires,^ quam 
ista effutientem nauseare atque ipsum tibi* disphcere! 

* aha nobis det., om. cett. " faciamus dett. 

* nescires dett. : nesciris A^ nescis corr. B. 

* tibi j\fanutius : sibi. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xxix.— xxx. 

equipped ^^ith goat-skin, spear, buckler and slippers 
turned up at the toe. Yet that is not the aspect of 
the Argive Juno, nor of the Ronian. It follows that 
Juno has one form for the Argives, another for the 
people of Lanuvium, and another for us. And 
indeed our Jupiter of the Capitol is not the same as 

83 the Africans' Juppiter Ammon. XXX. Should not 
the physical philosopher therefore, that is, the ex- 
plorer and tracker-out of nature, be ashamed to go 
to minds besotted with habit for e^idence of truth ? 
On vour principle it will be legitimate to assert that 
Jupiter always Mears a beard and Apollo never, and 
that Minerva has grey eyes and Neptune blue. Yes, 
and at Athens there is a much-praised statue of 
Vulcan made by Alcamenes, a standing figure, 
draped, which displays a shght lameness, though not 
enoueh to be unsifrhtlv. We shall therefore deem 
god to be lame, since tradition represents \'ulcan so. 
Tell me now, do we also make out the gods to have 
the same names as those by which they are kno^vn 

84 to us ? But in the first place the gods have as many 
names as mankind has languages. You are Velleius 
wherever you travel, but \'ulcan has a different name 
in Italy, in Africa and in Spain. Again, the total 
number of names even in our pontifical books is not 
great, but there are gods innumerable. Are they 
Mithout names ? You Epicureans at all events are 
forced to say so, since what is the point of more 
names when they are all exactly alike ? How de- 
hghtful it would be, \ elleius, if when you did not 
know a thing you would admit your ignorance, in- 
stead of uttering this drivel, which must make even 
your own gorge rise with disgust ! Do you really 



An tii mei similem putas esse aut tui deum ? Pro- 
fecto non putas. 

" Quid ergo, solem dicam aut lunam aut caelum 
deum ? Ergo etiam beatum : quibus fruentem 
voluptatibus ? et sapientem : qui potest esse in 
eius modi trunco sapientia ? Haec vestra sunt. 

85 Si igitur nec humano visu, quod docui, nec tali ali- 
quo, quod tibi ita persuasum est, quid dubitas negare 
deos esse ? Non audes. Sapienter id quidem, etsi 
hoc loco non populum metuis sed ipsos deos : novi 
ego Epicureos omnia sigilla venerantes,^ quamquam 
video non nullis ^ideri Epicurum, ne in offensionem 
Atheniensium caderet, verbis rehquisse deos, re sus- 
tuHsse. Itaque in ilhs selectis eius brevibusque sen- 
tentiis, quas appellatis Kvpcas So^ag, haec ut opinor 
prima sententia est : ' Quod beatum et inmortale 
est, id nec habet nec exhibet cuiquam negotium.' 
XXXI. In hac ita exposita sententia sunt qui existi- 
ment, quod ille inscitia plane loquendi fecerit,' 
fecisse consulto ; de homine minime vafro male 

86 existimant. Dubium est enim utrum dicat ahquid 
beatum esse et inmortale an, si quid sit, id esse 
tale.' Non animadvertunt hic eum ambigue locu- 
tum esse sed multis ahis locis et illum et Metrodorum 
tam aperte quam paulo ante te. Ille vero deos esse 

* venerantes Manutms : numerantes. 

* fecerit A^ B : fecerat co7-r. A, dett. : fecit .? (ci. sed 
reiecit Plasherg). ^ tale Heindorf: mortale. 

" Epicurus recorded his principal tenets in a series of 
briefarticlesofbeliefwhich h&ca\\^diKvpLaLbb^aL,Authoritative 
Opinions. Diog. L. x. 139. This one runs rd /xaKo.pioi' Kal 
&(p6apT0P oCt€ avTO wpdyfxaTa ^x^' oiJre fiXXy irap^ct, 


DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xxx.— xxxi. 

believe that god resembles me, or yourself? Of 
coiirse you do not. 

" What then ? Am I to say that the sun is a god, 
or the moon, or the sky ? If so, we must also say 
that it is happy ; but what forms of enjoyment con- 
stitute its happiness ? and wise ; but how can wisdom 
reside in a senseless bulk hke that ? These are argu- 

35 ments employed by your own school. Well then, Anthropo 
if the gods do not possess the appearance of men, as "^^^^^3^*^™ 
I have proved, nor some such form as that of the heid by 
heavenly bodies, as you are convinced, why do you h^ggj^ 
hesitate to deny their existence ? You do not dare 
to. W^ell, that is no doubt wise — although in this 
matter it is not the pubUc that you fear, but the gods 
themselves : I personally am acquainted with Epi- 
cureans who worship every paltry image, albeit I 
am aware that according to some people's view 
Epicurus really aboHshed the gods, but nominally 
retained them in order not to offend the people of 
Athens. Thus the first of his selected aphorisms or 
maxims, which you call the Ki/riai Doxai,^ runs, I 
beheve, thus : That which is blessed and immortal 
neiiher experiences trouble nor causes it to anyone. 
XXXI. Now there are people who think that the 
wording of this maxim was intentional, though really 
it was due to the author's inabihty to express himself 
clearly ; their suspicion does an injustice to the most 

86 guileless of mankind. It is in fact doubtful whether 
he means that there is a blessed and immortal being, 
or that, (/there is, that being is such as he describes. 
They fail to notice that although his language is 
ambiguous here, yet in many other places both he 
and Metrodorus speak as plainly as you yourself did 
just now. Epicurus however does actually think 



putat, nec quemquam \ddi qui magis ea quae timenda 
esse negaret timeret, mortem dico et deos ; quibus 
mediocres homines non ita valde moventur, his ille 
clamat omnium mortaUum mentes esse perterritas ; 
tot milia latrocinantur morte proposita, alii omnia 
quae possunt fana conpilant : credo aut illos mortis 
timor terret aut hos rehgionis ! 

87 " Sed quoniam non audes (iam enim cum ipso Epi- 
curo loquar) negare esse deos, quid est quod te in- 
pediat aut solem aut mundum aut mentem aliquam 
sempiternam in deorum numero^ ponere ? ' Num- 
quam vidi ' inquit ' animam rationis consiUique 
participem in ulla aUa nisi humana figura.' Quid ? 
sohs numquidnam aut lunae aut quinque errantium 
siderum simile \ddisti ? Sol duabus unius orbis 
ultimis partibus definiens motum cursus annuos 
conficit ; huius hanc lustrationem eiusdem incensa 
radiis menstruo spatio luna complet ; quinque 
autem stellae eundem orbem tenentes, ahae propius 
a terris, aliae remotius, ab isdem principiiis dis- 

88 paribus temporibus eadem spatia conficiunt. Num 
quid tale, Epicure, \-idisti ? Ne sit igitur sol ne 
luna ne stellae, quoniam nihil esse potest nisi quod 
attigimus aut \idimus. Quid ? deum ipsum numne 
vidisti ? Cur igitur credis esse ? Omnia toUamus 
ergo quae aut historia nobis aut ratio nova adfert. 

^ numero Walker : natura. 

• i.e.f have you seen things perform all these motions 
under your eyes? we see only parts of the courses of the 
heavenly bodies. 


that the gods exist, nor have I ever met anybody more 
afraid than he was of those thinijs Mhich he says are 
not terrible at all, I mean death and the gods. Terrors 
that do not very seriously alarm ordinary people, 
according to Epicurus haunt the minds of all mortal 
men : so many thousands commit brigandage, for 
which the penalty is death, and other mcn rob 
temples whenever they have the chance ; I suppose 
the former are haunted by the fear of death and the 
latter by the terrors of religion ! 

87 " But as you have not the courage (for I will now Ritionaiity 
address myself to Epicurus in person) to deny that to humaiT^ 
the gods exist, what should hinder you from reckoning ^°^°^ 

as divine the sun, or the world, or some form of ever- 
Uving intelligence ? ' I have never seen a mind 
endowed with reason and with purpose/ he rephes, 
* that was embodied in any but a human form.' 
Well, but have you ever seen anything Hke the sun 
or the moon or the five planets } The sun, hmiting 
his motion by the two extreme points of one orbit, 
completes his courses yearly. The moon, Ut by 
the sun's rays, achieves tliis solar path in the 
space of a month. The five planets, holding the same 
orbit, but some nearer to and others farther from the 
earth, from the same starting-points complete the 

88 same distances in different periods of time. Now, 
Epicurus, have you ever seen anything Hke this " ? 
Well then, let us deny the existence of the sun, moon 
and pLanets, inasmuch as nothing can exist save that 
which we have touclied or seen. And what of god 
himself ? You have never seen him, have you ? 
Why then do you beheve in his existence ? On this 
principle we must sweep aside everything unusual 
of which history or science informs us. The next 



Ita fit ut mediterranei mare esse non credant. 
Quae sunt tantae animi angustiae ? Ut, si Seriphi 
natus esses nec umquam egressus ex insula in qua 
lepusculos vulpeculasque saepe vidisses, non crederes 
leones et pantheras esse cum tibi quales essent dice- 
retur, si vero de elephanto quis diceret, etiam rideri 
te putares.^ 

89 " Et tu quidem, Vellei, non vestro more sed dialecti- 
corum, quae funditus gens vestra non no\at, argu- 
menti^ sententiam conclusisti. Beatos esse deos 
sumpsisti : concedimus. Beatum autem esse sine 
virtute neminem posse. XXXII. Id quoque damus, 
et libenter quidem. Virtutem autem sine ratione 
constare non posse : conveniat id quoque necesse 
est. Adiungis nec rationem esse nisi in hominis 
figura : quem tibi hoc daturum putas } si enim ita 
esset, quid opus erat te gradatim istuc pervenire ? 
sumpsisses tuo iure. Qui^ autem est istuc gradatim ? 
nam a beatis ad virtutem, a virtute ad rationem 
video te venisse gradibus : a ratione ad humanam 
figuram quo modo accedis ? Praecipitare istuc 
quidem est, non descendere. 

90 " Nec vero intellego cur maluerit Epicurus deos 
hominum similes dicere quam homines deorum. 
Quaeres quid intersit ; si enim hoc ilU simile sit, esse 
illud huic. Video, sed hoc dico, non ab hominibus 
formae figuram venisse ad deos ; di enim semper 
fuerunt, nati numquam sunt, siquidem aeterni sunt 

^ an quicquam . . . numquam vidimus e § 97 huc beno 
transtulit Ilude. 

^ argumenti yi, B : argumento dett. 

^ qui Schomann : quid dett., quod A,B{ = quale Plasberg), 

DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xxxi.— xxxii. 

thing would be for inland races to refuse to believe 
in the existence of the sea. How can such narrow- 
ness of mind be possible ? It follows that, if you 
had been born in Seriphus and liad never left the 
island, where you had been used to seeing nothing 
larger than hares and foxes, when Hons and panthers 
were described to you, you v>ould refuse to beheve 
in their existence ; and if somebody told you about 
an elephant, you would actually think that he was 
making fun of you ! 

B9 " For your part, Velleius, you forsook the practice 
of your school for that of the logicians — a science of 
which your clan is entirely ignorant — and expressed 
the doctrine in the form of a syllogism. You assumed 
that the gods are happy : we grant it. But no one, 
yousaid,can be happy withoutvirtue. XXXII. This 
also we give you, and wiUingly. But virtue cannot 
exist without reason. To this also we must agree. 
You add, neither can reason exist save embodied in 
human form. Who do you suppose will grant you 
this ? for if it were true, what need had you to 
arrive at it by successive steps ? you might have 
taken it for granted. But what about your successive 
steps ? I see how you proceeded step by step from 
happiness to virtue, from virtue to reason ; but how 
from reason do you arrive at human form ? That is 
not a step, it is a headlong plunge. 

K) " Nor indeed do I understand why Epicurus pre- Tiieo- 
ferred to say that gods are Uke men rather than that o" mankSd 
men are hke gods. ' What is the difference ? ' you equuiiy un- 
will ask me, ' for if A is Hke B, B is Hke A.' I am ^«°^^°^^^^ 
aware of it ; but what I mean is, that the gods did 
not derive the pattern of their form from men ; since 
the gods have always existed, and were never born — 



futuri ; at homines nati ; ante igitur humana forma 
quam homines, eaque^ erant forma di inmortales. 
Non ergo illorum humana forma sed nostra divina 
dicenda est. 

" Verum hoc quidem ut voletis ; illud quaero, quae 
fuerit tanta fortuna (nihil enim ratione in rerum 
natura factum esse vultis) — sed tamen quis iste 

91 tantus casus, unde tam fehx concursus atomorum, ut 
repente homines deorum forma nascerentur. Semina- 
ne deorum decidisse de caelo putamus in terras 
et sic homines patrum similes extitisse ? Vellem 
diceretis ; deorum cognationem agnoscerem non 
invitus. Nihil tale dicitis, sed casu esse factum ut 
essemus similes deorum. 

" Et nunc argumenta quaerenda sunt quibus hoc 
refellatur ? Utinam tam facile vera invenire pos- 
sem quam falsa convincere. XXXIII. Etenim enu- 
merasti memoriter et copiose, ut mihi quidem 
admirari luberet in homine esse Romano tantam 
scientiam, usque a Thale Milesio de deorum natura 

92 philosophorum sententias. Omnesne tibi ilH deUrare 
visi sunt qui sine manibus et pedibus constare deum 
posse decreverint ? Ne hoc quidem vos movet 
considerantis, quae sit utihtas quaeque opportunitas 
in homine membrorum, ut iudicetis membris humanis 
deos non egere ? Quid enim pedibus opus est sine 
ingressu, quid manibus si nihil conprehendendum 
est, quid rehqua discriptione omnium corporis 
partium, in qua nihil inane, nihil sine causa, nihil 

^ eaque dett. : ea qua A, B. 

DE NATUllA DEORUM, I. xxxii.— xxxiii. 

that is, if tliey are to be eternal ; whereas men were 
born ; therefore the human form existed before man- 
kind, and it was the form of the immortal gods. We 
ought not to say that the gods have human form, but 
that our form is divine. 

" However, as to that, you may take your choice. 
What I want to know is, how did such a piece of good 
luck happen (for according to your school nothing 
in the universe was caused by design) — but be that 

91 as it may, what accident was so potent, how did such 
a fortunate concourse of atoms come about, that 
suddenly men were born in the form of gods ? Are 
we to think that divine seed fell from heaven to 
earth, and that thus men came into being resembhng 
their sires ? I wish that this were your story, for I 
should be glad to acknowledge my divine relations ! 
But you do not say any thing of the sort — you say that 
our likeness to the gods was caused by chance. 

" And now is there any need to search for argu- 
ments to refute this ? I only wish I could dis- 
cover the truth as easily as I can expose falsehood. 
XXXIII. For you gave a full and accurate review, 
which caused me for one to wonder at so much learn 
ing in a Roman, of the theological doctrines of the 

92 philosophers from Thales of Miletus downward. Did ^^at use 
you think they were all out of their minds because iimbsto 
they pronounced that god can exist without hands or ^^^Ti™^^^ 
feet ? Does not even a consideration of the adapta- gods? 
tion of man's hmbs to their functions convince you 

that the gods do not require human hmbs ? What 
need is there for feet without walking, or for hands 
if nothing has to be grasped, or for the rest of the hst 
of the various parts of the body, in which nothing is 
useless, nothing without a reason, nothing super- 



supervacaneum est, itaque nulla ars imitari soUertiam 
naturae potest ? Habebit igitur linguam deus et non 
loquetur, dentes palatum fauces nuUum ad usum ; 
quaeque procreationis causa natura corpori adfinxit 
ea frustra habebit deus ; nec externa magis quam 
interiora, cor pulmones iecur cetera, quae detracta 
utilitate quid habent venustatis ? — quandoquidem 
haec esse in deo propter pulchritudinem voltis. 
93 " Istisne fidentes somniis non modo Epicurus et 
Metrodorus et Hermarchus contra Pythagoram Pla- 
tonem Empedoclemque dixerunt sed meretricula 
etiam Leontium contra Theophrastum scribere ausa 
est ? scito illa quidem seraione et Attico, sed tamen : 
tantum Epicuri hortus habuit hcentiae. Et soletis 
queri ; Zeno quidem etiam htigabat ; quid dicam 
Albucium ? Nam Phaedro niliil elegantius nihil 
humanius, sed stomachabatur senex si quid asperius 
dixeram, cum Epicurus Aristotelem vexarit contume- 
hosissime, Phaedoni Socratico turpissime male dixerit, 
Metrodori sodahs sui fratrem Timocraten quia nescio 
quid in philosophia dissentiret totis voluminibus con- 
ciderit, in Democritum ipsum quem secutus est fuerit 
ingratus, Nausiphanen magistrum suum a quo non^ 
nihil didicerat tam male acceperit. XXXIV. Zeno 
quidem non eos solum qui tum erant, Apollodorum 
* non dett. : om. A, B. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xxxiii.— xxxiv. 

fliious, so that no art can imitate the cunning of 
nature's handiwork ? It secms then that god will 
have a tonguc, and will not speak ; teeth, a palate, 
a throat, for no use ; the organs that nature has 
attached to the body for the object of procreation — 
these god will possess, but to no purpose ; and not 
only the external but also the internal organs, the 
heart, lungs, liver and the rest, which if they are not 
useful are assuredly not beautiful — since your school 
holds that god possesses bodily parts because of their 
93 " Was it dreams Hke these that not only en- Epicnreana 
couraged Epicurus and Metrodorus and Hermarchus other^ ^ 
to contradict Pythagoras, Plato and Empedocles, but schoois, but 
actually emboldened a loose woman Hke Leontium anthropo- 
to ^^Tite a book refuting Theophrastus ? Her style morphism 
no doubt is the neatest of Attic, but all the same ! — ridicuious. 
such was the Hcence that prevailed in the Garden 
of Epicurus. And yet you are touchy yourselves, 
indeed Zeno actually used to invoke the law. I need 
not mention Albucius. As for Phaedrus, though he 
was the most relined and courteous of old gentlemen, 
he used to lose his temper if I spoke too harshly ; 
although Epicurus attacked Aristotle in the most 
insulting manner, abused Socrates' pupil Phaedo 
quite outrageously, devoted whole volumes to an 
onslaught on Timocrates, the brother of his own 
associate Metrodorus, for ditfering from him on some 
point or other of philosophy, showed no gratitude 
toward Democritus himself, whose system he adopted, 
and treated so badly his own master Xausiphanes, 
from whom he had learnt a considerable amount. 
XXXIV. As for Zeno, he aimed the shafts of his 
abuse not only at his contemporaries, ApoUodorus, 



Silum ceteros, figebat maledictis, sed Socraten 
ipsum parentem philosophiae Latino verbo utens 
scurram Atticum fuisse dicebat, Chrysippum num- 

94 quam nisi Chrysippam vocabat. Tu ipse paulo ante 
cum tamquam senatum philosophorum recitares, 
summos viros desipere deUrare dementis esse dicebas. 
Quorum si nemo verum vidit de natura deorum, 
verendum est ne nuUa sit omnino. 

" Nam ista quae vos dicitis sunt tota commenticia, 
vix digna lucubratione anicularum. Non enim sentitis 
quam multa vobis suscipienda sint si inpetraritis ut 
concedamus eandem hominum esse et deorum figuram. 
Omnis cultus et curatio corporis erit eadem adhibenda 
deo quae adhibetur homini, ingressus cursus accu- 
bitio incUnatio sessio conprehensio, ad extremum 

95 etiam sermo et oratio ; nam quod et maris deos et 
feminas esse dicitis, quid sequatur videtis. Equidem 
mirari satis non possum unde ad istas opiniones vester 
ille princeps venerit. Sed clamare non desinitis 
retinendum hoc esse, deus ut beatus inmortalisque 
sit. Quid autem obstat quo minus sit beatus si non 
sit bipes ? aut ista sive beatitas sive beatitudo 
dicenda est (utrumque omnino durum, sed usu 
moUienda nobis verba sunt) — verum ea quaecumque 
est cur aut in solem illum aut in hunc mundum aut 
in ahquam mentem aeternam figura membrisque 

96 corporis vacuam cadere non potest ? Nihil aUud dicis 
nisi : ' Numquam vidi solem aut mundum beatum,* 


Silus and the rest, but Socrates himself, the father 
of philosophy, he declared to liave been the Attic 
equivalent of our Roman buffoons ; and he always 

>4 alluded to Chrysippus in the feminine gender. You 
yourself just now, when reeHng off the hst of phiio- 
sophers Uke the censor calhng the roll of the Senate, 
said that all those eminent men were fools, idiots and 
madmen. But if none of these discerned the truth 
about the divine nature, it is to be feared that the 
divine nature is entirely non-existent. 

" For as for your schoors account of the matter, 
it is the merest fairy-story, hardly worthy of old wives 
at work by lampHght. You don't perceive what a 
number of things you are let in for, if we consent to 
admit that men and gods have the same form. You 
will have to assign to god exactly the same physical 
exercises and care of the person as are proper to men : 
he will walk, run, recHne, bend, sit, hold things in the 
hand, and lastly even converse and make speeches. 

)6 As for your saying that the gods are male and female, 
weH, you must see what the consequence of that wiU 
be. For my part, I am at a loss to imagine how your 
great founder arrived at such notions. AH the same 
you never cease vociferating that we must on no 
account rehnquish the divine happiness and immor- 
tahty. But Mhat prevents god from being happy 
without having two legs ? and why cannot your 
* beatitude ' or * beatity,' whichever form we are to 
use — and either is certainly a hard mouthful, but 
words have to be softened by use — but whatever it 
is, why can it not apply to the sun yonder, or to this 
world of ours, or to some eternal inteUigence devoid 

)6 of bodily shape and membcrs ? Your only answer 

is, * I have never seen a happy sun or world.* Well, 

£ 93 


Quid, mundum praeter hunc umquamne \ddisti ? 
Negabis. Cur igitur non sescenta milia esse mun* 
dorum sed innumerabilia ausus es dicere ? ' Ratio 
docuit.' Ergo hoc te ratio non docebit, cum prae- 
stantissima natura quaeratur eaque beata et aeterna, 
quae sola di^dna natura est, ut inmortahtate vincamur* 
ab ea natura sic animi praestantia vinci, atque ut 
animi item corporis ? Cur igitur cum ceteris rebus 
inferiores simus forma pares sumus ? ad simiHtudi- 
nem enim deorum propius accedebat humana virtus 
07 quam figura. XXXV. [^An quicquam tam puerile dici 
potest (ut eundem locum diutius urgeam) quam si 
ea genera beluarum quae in rubro mari Indiave 
gignuntur^ nulla esse dicamus ? Atqui ne curiosis- 
simi quidem homines exquirendo audire tam multa 
possunt quam sunt multa quae terra mari paludibus 
fluminibus exsistunt ; quae negemus esse quia num- 
quam vidimus !] 

" Ipsa vero quam nihil ad rem pertinet quae vos 
delectat maxime similitudo ! Quid, canis nonne 
simihs lupo ? — atque, ut Ennius, 

simia quam similis turpissuma bestia nobis ! — 

at mores in utroque dispares. Elephanto beluarum 
98 nulla prudentior : at figura* quae vastior ? De 
bestiis loquor : quid, inter ipsos homines nonne et 
simiUimis formis dispares mores et moribus simillimis* 
figura dissimihs ? Etenim si semel, Vellei, suscipimus 

* vincamur A^ B : vincimur dett. 

* an quicquara . . . nunquam vidimus in § 88 hene trana- 
tulit Hude. 

' gignuntur Schomann : gignantur. 

* at figura det. (figura B) : ad figuram A, 

' simHiimis det. : om. A, B: paribus Klotz, 

DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xxxiv.— xxxv. 

but have you ever seen any other world but this one ? 
No, you will reply. Then why did you venture to 
assert the existence of, not thousands and thousands, 
but a countless number of worlds ? ' That is what 
reason teaches.' Then will not reason teach you that 
when we seek to find a being who shall be supremely 
excellent, and happy and eternal as well — and 
nothing else constitutes divinity — , even as that being 
will surpass us in immortahty, so also will it surpass 
us in mental excellence, and even as in mental excel- 
lence, so also in bodily. Why then, if we are inferior 
to god in all else, are we his equals in form ? for man 
came nearer to the divine image in virtue than in 
7 outward aspect. XXXV. [Can you mention any- 
thing so cliildish (to press the same point still further) 
as to deny the existence of the various species of huge 
animals that grow in the Red Sea or in India ? Yet 
not even the most dihgent investigators could possibly 
collect information about all the vast multitude of 
creatures that exist on land and in the sea, the 
marshes and the rivers : the existence of which we 
are to deny, because we have never seen them !] 

" Then take your favourite argument from re- 
semblance : how utterly pointless it really is ! Why, 
does not a dog resemble a wolf ? — and, to quote 

How like us is that ugly brute, the ape ! — 

but the two differ in habits. The elephant is the 
)8 wisest of beasts, but the most ungainly in shape. I Why should 
speak of animals, but is it not the case even with men onTyTn^^^^ 
that when very much ahke in appearance they differ human 
widely in character, and when very much ahke in 
character they are unUke in appearance ? In fact, 



genus hoc argumenti, attende quo serpat. Tu enim 
sumebas nisi in hominis figura rationem inesse non 
posse ; sumet alius nisi in terrestri, nisi in eo qui 
natus sit, nisi in eo qui adoleverit, nisi in eo qui 
didicerit, nisi in eo qui ex animo constet et corpore 
caduco et infirmo, postremo nisi in homine atque 
mortaH. Quodsi in omnibus his rebus obsistis, quid 
est quod te forma una conturbet ? His enim omni- 
bus quae proposui adiunctis in homine rationem esse 
et mentem videbas ; quibus detractis deum tamen 
nosse te dicis, modo Hniamenta maneant. Hoc est 
non considerare sed quasi sortiri quid loquare. 

99 Nisi forte ne hoc quidem attendis, non modo in 
homine sed etiam in arbore quicquid supervacaneum 
sit aut usum non habeat obstare. Quam molestum 
est uno digito plus habere ! Quid ita } Quia nec 
ad speciem nec ad^ usum aHum quinque desiderant. 
Tuus autem deus non digito uno redundat sed capite 
coUo cervicibus lateribus alvo tergo popHtibus mani- 
bus pedibus feminibus cruribus. Si ut inmortaHs sit, 
quid haec ad vitam membra pertinent .'' quid ipsa 
facies } Magis iHa, cerebrum cor puhnones iecur : 
haec enim sunt domiciHa vitae ; oris quidem habitus 
ad vitae firmitatem nihil pertinet. 

100 XXXVI. " Et eos vituperabas qui ex operibus magni- 
ficis atque praeclaris, cum ipsum mundum, cum eius 
membra caelum terras maria, cumque horum insignia 
* ad . . . ad om. A^ B. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xxxv.— xxxvi. 

Velleius, if once we embark on this line of argument, 
see how fiw it takes us. You claimed it as axiomatic 
that reason can only exist in human form ; but some- 
one else will claim that it can only exist in a terrestrial 
creature, in one that has been born, has gro^vn up, 
has been educated, consists of a soul and a body 
hable to decay and disease — in fine, that it can only 
exist in a mortal man. If you stand out against each 
of these assumptions, why be troubled about shape 
only ? Rational inteUigence exists in man, as you 
saw, only in conjunction with all the attributes that 
I have set out ; yet you say that you can recognize 
god even with all these attributes stripped off, pro- 
vided that the outward form remains. This is not 
to weigh the question, it is to toss up for what you 

9 are to say. Unless indeed you happen never to have 
observed this either, that not only in a man but even 
in a tree whatever is superfluous or without a use 
is harmful. What a nuisance it is to have a single 
finger too many ! Why is this ? Because, given five 
fingers, there is no need of another either for appear- 
ance or for use. But your god has got not merely 
one finger more than he wants, but a head, neck, 
spine, sides, belly, back, flanks, hands, feet, thighs, 
legs. If this is to secure him immortaUty, what 
have these members to do with Ufe ? What has even 
the face ? It depends more on the brain, heart, 
lungs and Uver, for they are the abode of Ufe : a 
man's countenance and features have nothing to do 
with his vitaUty. 

XXXVI. " Then you censured those who argued whyhave 
from the splendour and the bcauty of creation, and fj^nbTff' 
who, observing the workl itself, and the parts of the theyare 
world, the sky and earth and sea, and the sun, moon '°**^ *^® 



solem lunam stellasque vidissent, cumque temporum 
maturitates mutationes vicissitudinesque cognovis- 
sent, suspicati essent aliquam excellentem esse prae- 
stantemque naturam quae haec efFecisset moveret 
regeret gubernaret. Qui etiam si aberrant a^ con- 
iectura, video tamen quid sequantur ; tu quod opus 
tandem magnum et egregium habes quod effectum 
divina mente videatur, ex quo esse deos suspicere ? 
* Habemus ' ^ inquis ' in animo insitam informationem 
quandam dei.' Et barbati quidem lovis, galeatae 
101 Minervae : num igitur esse tahs putas ? Quanto 
mehus haec vulgus imperitorum, qui non membra 
solum hominis deo tribuant sed usum etiam membro- 
rum. Dant enim arcum sagittas hastam chpeum 
fuscinam fuhnen, et si actiones quae sint deorum 
non vident, nihil agentem tamen deum non queunt 
cogitare. Ipsi qui inridentur Aegyptii nullam beluam 
nisi ob ahquam utihtatem quam ex ea caperent 
consecraverunt ; velut ibes maximam vim serpentium 
conficiunt, cum sint aves excelsae, cruribus rigidis, 
corneo proceroque rostro ; avertunt pestem ab 
Aegypto, cum volucris anguis ex vastitate Libyae 
vento Africo invectas interficiunt atque consumunt, 
ex quo fit ut iUae nec morsu vivae noceant nec odore 
mortuae. Possum de ichneumonum utihtate de 
crocodilorum de faehum dicere, sed nolo esse longus. 
Ita concludam, tamen beluas a barbaris propter 
beneficium consecratas, vestrorum deorum non modo 
beneficium nuhum exstare sed ne factum quidem 

* a om. Walker, * habemus dett. : habebam A^ B. 


and stars that adorn them, and discovering the laws 
of the seasons and their periodic successions, con- 
jectured that there must exist some supreme and 
transcendent being who had created these things, 
and who imparted motion to them and guided and 
governed them. Though this guess may be wide of 
the mark, I can see what they are after ; but as for 
you, what mighty masterpiece pray do you adduce 
as apparently the creation of divine intelligence, 
leading you to conjecture that gods exist ? * We 
have an idea of god implanted in our minds,' you say. 
Yes, and an idea of Jupiter with a beard, and 3vlinerva 
in a helmet ; but do you therefore beUeve that those 
l deities are really hke that ? The unlearned multitude 
are surely wiser here — they assign to god not only 
a man's hmbs, but the use of those hmbs. For they 
give him bow, arrows, spear, shield, trident, thunder- 
bolt ; and if they cannot see what actions the gods 
perfomi, yet they cannot conceive of god as entirely 
inactive. Even the Egyptians, whom we laugh at, 
deified animals solely on the score of some utiHty 
vvhich they derived from them ; for instance, the ibis, 
bcing a tall bird with stiff legs and a long horny beak, 
destroys a great quantity of snakes : it protects 
Egypt from plague, by kiUing and eating the flying 
serpents that are brought from the Libyan desert 
by the south-west wind, and so preventing them from 
harming the natives by their bite while ahve and their 
stench when dead. I might describe the utihty of 
the ichneumon, the crocodile and the cat, but I do 
not wish to be tedious. I will make my point thus : 
these animals are at all events deified by the bar- 
barians for the benefits which they confer, but your 
gods not only do no service that you can point to, but 



102 omniiio. ' Nihil habet ' inquit^ * negotii.' Profecto 
Epicurus quasi pueri deUcati nihil cessatione mehus 
existimat. XXXVII. At ipsi tamen pueri etiam cum 
cessant exercitatione aliqua ludicra delectantur : 
deum sic feriatum volumus cessatione torpere ut si 
se commoverit vereamur ne beatus esse non possit ? 
Haec oratio non modo deos spoliat motu et actione 
divina^ sed etiam homines inertis efficit, si quidem 
agens aliquid ne deus quidem esse beatus potest. 

103 " Verum sit sane ut vultis deus effigies hominis et 
imago : quod eius est domicilium, quae sedes, qui 
locus, quae deinde actio vitae ? quibus rebus id quod 
vultis beatus est ? Utatur enim suis bonis oportet et 
fruatur qui beatus futurus est. Nam locus quidem 
iis etiam naturis quae sine animis sunt suus est cuique 
proprius, ut terra infimum teneat, hanc inundet aqua, 
superior aeri, aetheriis' ignibus altissima ora reddatur. 
Bestiarum autem terrenae sunt aliae, partim aquatiles, 
aliae quasi ancipites in utraque sede viventes ; sunt 
quaedam etiam quae igne nasci putentur appareant- 

104 queinardentibusfornacibussaepevohtantes. Quaero 
igitur vester deus primum ubi habitet, deinde quae 
causa eum loco moveat, si modo movetur aliquando, 
porro,* cum hoc proprium sit animantium ut ahquid 
adpetant quod sit naturae accommodatum, deus quid 

^ inquis? (c/. § 109) ed. ' divina secl. Reinhardt. 

' superior aeri, aetheriis Milller : superi aetheri B, superi 
aether A. * porro Heindorf: postremo. 

■ This is stated by Aristotle, Gen. An, iii. 9, Hist. An. v. 
19, and Pliny, N.H. xi. 42. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xxxvi.— xxxvii. 

02 they don't do anything at all. ' God/ he says, * is free 
from trouble.' Obviously Epicurus thinks, as spoilt 
children do, that idleness is the best thing there is. 
XXX\'II. Yet these very children even vvhen idle 
amuse themselves with some active game: are we to 
suppose that god enjoys so complete a hohday, and 
is so sunk in sloth, that we must fear lest the least 
movement may jeopardize his happiness ? This 
language not merely robs the gods of the movements 
and activities suitable to the divine nature, but also 
tends to make men slothful, if even god cannot be 
happy when actively employed. 

03 " However, granting your view that god is ^he (4)^Bjen ^^^ 
image and the likeness of man, what is his dwelling- ^imagRs,' 
place and local habitation ? in what activities does ^j^^^^^^^y^ 
he spend his hfe ? what constitutes that happiness the reaiity 
which you attribute to him ? For a person who is to l[ S,heif° ^' 
be happy must actively enjoy his blessings. As for pxistence aa 
locahty, even the inanimate elements each liave their eS-nai 
own particular region : earth occupies the lowest t»eings. 
place, water covers the earth, to air is assigned the 

upper realm, and the ethereal fires occupy the highest 
confines of all. Animals again are divided into those 
that hve on land and those that Hve in the water, 
while a third class are amphibious and dwell in both 
regions, and there are also some that are beheved to 
be born from fire, and are occasionally seen fluttering 

04 about in glowing furnaces.** About your deity there- 
fore I want to know, first, where he dwells ; secondly, 
what motive he has for moving in space, that is, if 
he ever does so move ; thirdly, it being a special 
characteristic of animate beings to desire some end 
that is appropriate to their nature, what is the thing 
that god desires ; fourthly, upon what subject does he 



appetat, ad quam denique rem motu mentis ac ratione 
utatur, postremo quo modo beatus sit quo modo 
aeternus. Quicquid enim horum attigeris/ ulcus est : 
ita male instituta ratio exitum reperire non potest. 

105 Sic enim dicebas, speciem dei percipi cogitatione non 
sensu, nec esse in ea ullam soliditatem, neque 
eandem ad numerum permanere, eamque esse eius 
visionem ut similitudine et transitione cernatur neque 
deficiat umquam ex infinitis corporibus similium^ 
accessio, ex eoque fieri ut in haec intenta mens 
nostra beatam illam naturam et sempiternam putet. 
XXXVIII. Hoc per ipsos deos, de quibus loquimur, 
quale tandem est ? Nam si tantum modo ad cogi- 
tationem valent nec habent ullam soliditatem nec 
eminentiam, quid interest utrum de Hippocentauro 
an de deo cogitemus ? omnem enim talem conforma- 
tionem animi ceteri philosophi motum inanem vocant, 
vos autem adventum in animos et introitum ima- 

106 ginum dicitis. Ut igitur^ Ti. Gracchum cum videor 
contionantem^ in Capitoho videre de^ M. Octavio 
deferentem sitellam tum eum motum animi dico esse 
inanem, tu auteln et Gracchi et Octavii imagines re- 
manere quae in Capitohum cum pervenerim^ tum ad 
animum meum referantur' : hocidem fieri in deo, cuius 
crebra facie pellantur animi, ex quo esse beati atque 

107 aeterni intellegantur. Fac imagines esse quibus pul- 

^ attigeris dett. : attigerit A, B, attigreritis Beid. 

2 simihum <imaginum> Goethe. 

^ igituTsecl. Madviff. * contionans ? (?(/, ^ <ety de Bouhier, 

^ perv^enerim dett. : pervenerint ^ , B. ' deferantur Ernesti, 

" i.e., permanent identity: it does not continue one and 
the same. 

" Perhaps the Latin should be altered to give 'images: 
just as, when while making a speech in the Capitol I seem 
to see Tiberius Gracchus producing . . .' 

DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xxxvii.— xxxviii. 

employ his mental activity and reason ; and lastly, 
how is he happy, and how eternal ? For whiehever 
of these questions you raise, you touch a tender spot. 
An argument based on such insecure premisses can 

)5 come to no vaUd conclusion. Your assertion was 
that the form of god is perccived by thought and not 
by the senses, that it has no sohdity nor numerical 
persistence," and that our perception of it is such 
that it is seen owing to similarity and succession, 
a never-ceasing stream of similar forms arri\ang con- 
tinually from the infinite number of atoms, and that 
thus it results that our mind, when its attention is 
fixed on these fomis, conceives the divine nature to be 
happy and eternal. XXXVIII. Xow in the name of 
the very gods about whom we are talking, what can 
possibly be the meaning of this ? If the gods only 
appeal tothefaculty of thought,and have nosoHdity or 
definite outhne, what difference does it make whether 
we think of a god or of a hippocentaur ? Such mental 
pictures are called by all other philosophers mere 
empty imaginations, but you say they are the 
arrival and entrance into-^ our minds of certain 

l)6 images.^ Well then, when I seem to see Tiberius 
Gracclms in the middle of his speech in the Capitol 
producing the ballot-box for the vote on Marcus 
Octavius, I explain this as an empty imagination of 
the mind, but your explanation is that the images of 
Gracchus and Octavius have actually remained on the 
spot, so that when I come to the Capitol these 
images are borne to my mind ; the same thing 
happens, you say, in the case of god, whose appear- 
ance repeatedly impinges on men's minds, and so 
gives rise to the behef in happy and eternal deities. 

07 Suppose that there are such images constantly im- 



sentur animi : species dumtaxat obicitur quaedam — 
num etiam cur ea beata sit cur aeterna ? 

" Quae autem istae imagines vestrae aut unde ? 
A Democrito omnino haec licentia ; sed et ille 
reprehensus a multis est, nec vos exitum reperitis, 
totaque res vacillat et claudicat. Nam quid est 
quod minus probari possit, quam omnino^ in me 
incidere imagines Homeri Archilochi Romuli 
Numae Pythagorae Platonis — nedum ea^ forma qua 
illi' fuerunt ? Quo modo illae* ergo et quorum 
imagines^ ? Orpheum poetam docet Aristoteles num- 
quam fuisse, et hoc Orphicum carmen Pythagorei 
ferunt cuiusdam fuisse Cercopis ; at Orpheus, id est 
imago eius ut vos vultis, in animum meum saepe 

108 incurrit. Quid quod eiusdem hominis in meum 
aUae, aliae in tuum ? quid quod earum rerum quae 
numquam omnino fuerunt neque esse potuerunt, 
ut Scyllae, ut Chimaerae ? quid quod hominum 
locorum urbium earum quas numquam vidimus ? 
quid quod simul ac mihi coUibitum est praesto est 
imago ? quid quod etiam ad dormientem veniunt in- 
vocatae? Tota res, Vellei, nugatoria est. Vos autem 
non modo ocuHs imagines sed etiam animis inculcatis: 

109 tanta est inpunitas garriendi. XXXIX. At quam 
licenter ! Fluentium frequenter transitio fit visio- 
num, ut e multis una videatur. Puderet me dicere non 

* quam omnino Reid : quam hominum dett.f omnium 
Af B: quam omnium hominum P ed. 

2 nedum ea ed. : nec ea jlld., nec ex uss. : nedum Reid. 
' ipsi P ed. * illae Reid : illi. ^ imagines secl. Earle. 

*• See note on i. 33. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xxxviii.— xxxix. 

pinging on our minds : but that is only the presenta- 
tion of a certain form — surely not also of a reason for 
supposing that this form is happy and eternal ? 

" But what is the nature of these images of yours, 
and whence do they arise ? This extravagance, it 
is true, is borrowed from Democritus ; but he has 
been widely criticized, nor can you find a satisfactory 
explanation, and the whole affair is a lame and 
impotent business. For M'hat can be more improb- 
able than that images of Homer, Archilochus, 
Romulus, Numa, Pythagoras and Plato should im- 
pinge on me at all — much less that they should do 
so in the actual shape that those men really bore ? 
How then do those images arise ? and of whom are 
they the images ? Aristotle ^ tells us that the poet 
Orpheus never existed, and the Pythagoreans say 
that the Orphic poem which we possess was the work 
of a certain Cercops ; yet Orpheus, that is, according 
to you, the image of him, often comes into my mind. 

108 What of the fact that different images of the same 
person enter my mind and yours ? or that images 
come to us of things that never existed at all and 
never can have existed — for instance, Scylla, and the 
Chimaera ? or of people, places and cities which we 
have never seen ? What of the fact that I can call 
up an image instantaneously, the very moment that 
I choose to do so ? or that they come to me unbidden, 
even when I am asleep ? Velleius, the whole affair 
is humbug. Yet you stamp these images not only 

on our eyes but also on our minds — so irresponsibly Jj^J^^^. 

109 do you babble. XXXIX. And how extravagantly ! (§ 50) 
There is a constant passage or stream of visual ^'faUy 
presentations which collectively produce a single prove the 
visual impression. I should be ashamed to say that oTman. * ^ 



intellegere, si vos ipsi intellegeretis qui ista defenditis. 
Quo modo enim probas continenter imagines ferri, 
aut si continenter quo modo aeternae ? * Innumera- 
bilitas ' inquis^ ' suppeditat atomorum.' Num 
eadem ergo ista faciet ut sint omnia sempiterna ? 
Confugis ad aequilibritatem (sic enim tcrovo/xtai' si 
placet appellemus) et ais quoniam sit natura mortalis 
inmortalem etiam esse oportere. Isto modo quoniam 
homines mortales sunt sunt^ aliqui inmortales, et 
quoniam nascuntur in terra nascuntur^ in aqua. 
* Et quia sunt quae interimant, sunt* quae con- 
servent.' Sint sane, sed ea^ conservent quae sunt : 

110 deos istos esse non sentio. Omnis tamen ista rerum^ 
effigies ex individuis quo modo corporibus oritur ? 
quae etiamsi essent, quae nulla sunt, pellere se ipsa 
et agitari' inter se concursu fortasse possent, formare 
figurare colorare animare non possent. Nullo igitur 
modo inmortalem deum efRcitis. 

XL. " Videamus nunc de beato. Sine virtute certe 
nuUo modo ; virtus autem actuosa, et deus vester nihil 
agens ; expers virtutis igitur ; ita ne beatus quidem. 

111 Quae ergo vita ? ' Suppeditatio ' inquis ' bono- 
rum nuUo malorum interventu.* Quorum tandem 
bonorum ? Voluptatum credo nempe ad corpus 
pertinentium : nuUam enim novistis nisi profectam 

* inqui^ dett. : inquit A, B. ^ sunt ed. : sint. 

^ nascuntur pr. B, dett. : nascantur A. 

* sunt dett. : sint A, B. ^ ea : ea quae dett. 

* rerum : deorum Goethe. ' agitare det. 

" Perhaps Cicero wrote * pictures of the gods.' 

DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xxxix.— xl. 

I do not understand the doctrine, if you who maintain 
it understood it yourselves ! How can you prove that 
the stream of images is continuous, or if it is, how are 
the images eternal ? You say that there is an in- 
numerable supply of atoms. Are you going to argue 
then that everything is eternal, for the same reason ? 
You take refuge in the principle of * equihbrium 
(for so with your consent we will translate isojwmia), 
and you say that because there is mortal substance 
there must also be immortal substance. On that 
showing, because there are mortal men, there are 
also some that are immortal, and because there are 
men born on land, there are men born in the 
water. ' And because there are forces of destruc- 
tion, there are also forces of preservation.' Suppose 
there M-ere, they would only preserve things that 
ah-eady exist ; but I am not aware that your gods do 

110 exist. But be that as it may, how do all your 
pictures of obj ects " arise out of the atoms ? even if the 
atoms existed, which they do not, they might con- 
ceivably be capable of pushing and josthng one 
another about by their colhsions, but they could not 
create form, shape, colour, hfe. You fail entirely 
therefore to prove divine immortality. 

XL. " Now let us consider divine happiness. 
Happiness is admittedly impossible without virtue. Howcan 
But virtue is in its nature active, and your god is go^^i'"^^' 
entirely inactive. Therefore he is devoid of virtue. inactivity 

111 Therefore he is not happy either. In what then does Sabs^^nce 
his hfe consist ? ' In a constant succession of things of virtue), 
good,' you reply, ' without any admixture of evils.' pieasuresof 
Things good — what things ? Pleasures, I suppose — ^°J®' °^ 
that is, of course, pleasures of the body, for your constant 
school recognizes no pleasures of the mind that do dL^oiution? 



a corpore et redeuntem ad corpus animi voluptatem. 
Non arbitror te, Vellei, similem esse Epicureorum 
reliquorum^ quos pudeat quarundam Epicuri vocum, 
quibus ille testatur se ne intellegere quidem ullum 
bonum quod sit seiunctum a delicatis et obscenis 
voluptatibus, quas quidem non erubescens perse- 

112 quitur omnis nominatim. Quem cibum igitur aut 
quas potiones aut quas vocum aut florum^ varietates 
aut quos tactus quos odores adhibebis ad deos, ut eos 
perfundas voluptatibus ? Et poetae quidem nectar am- 
brosiam <que>' <in>* epulas conparant et aut luventa- 
tem aut Ganymedem pocula ministrantem, tu autem, 
Epicure, quid facies ? neque enim unde habeat ista 
deus tuus video nec quo modo utatur. Locupletior 
igitur hominum natura ad beate vivendum est quam 
deorum, quod pluribus generibus fruitur voluptatum. 

113 At has leviores ducis voluptates, quibus quasi 
titillatio (Epicuri enim hoc verbum est) adhibetur 
sensibus. Quousque ludis ? Nam etiam Philo 
noster ferre non poterat aspernari Epicureos molhs 
et delicatas voluptates ; summa enim memoria 
pronuntiabat plurimas Epicuri sententias iis ipsis 
verbis quibus erant scriptae ; Metrodori vero, 
qui est Epicuri collega sapientiae, multa^ inpuden- 
tiora recitabat : accusat enim Timocratem fratrem 
suum Metrodorus quod dubitet omnia quae ad 
beatam vitam pertineant ventre metiri, neque id 
semel dicit sed saepius. Adnuere te video, nota 
enim tibi sunt ; proferrem libros si negares. Neque 

^ aliquorum Bouhier. " colorum Walker, 
» add. Vict. * add. Reid. 

^ multo f Plasberg. 

** His phrase was yapyaXiapiol ffw/Aaroj (Athenaeus xii. 546). 


not arise from and come back to the body. I don't 
suppose that you, Velleius, are hke the rest of the 
Epicureans, ^vho are ashamed of certain utterances 
of Epicurus, in which he protests that he cannot con- 
ceive any good that is unconnected with the pleasures 
of the voluptuary and the sensuahst, pleasures which 
in fact he proceeds \vithout a blush to enumerate by 

12 name. Well then, what viands and beverages, \vhat 
harmonies of music and flowers of various hue, what 
dehghts of touch and smell will you assign to the gods, 
so as to keep them steeped in pleasure ? The poets 
array banquets of nectar and ambrosia, with Hebe or 
Ganymede in attendance as cup-bearer ; but what 
will you do, Epicurean ? I don't see either where 
your god is to procure these delights or how he is to 
enjoy them. It appears then that mankind is more 
bountifully equipped for happiness than is the deity, 
since man can experience a wider range of pleasures. 

13 You tell me that you consider these pleasures in- 
ferior, which merely 'tickle ' the senses (the expression 
is that of Epicurus"). When will you cease jesting ? 
Why, even our friend Philo was impatient with the 
Epicureans for affecting to despise the pleasures of 
sensual indulgence ; for he had an excellent memory 
and could quote verbatim a number of maxims from 
the actual writings of Epicurus. As for Metro- 
dorus, Epicurus's co-partner in philosophy, he sup- 
phed him with many still more outspoken (juotations ; 
in fact Metrodorus takes his brother Timocrates to 
task for hesitating to measure every element of happi- 
ness by the standard of the belly, nor is this an 
isolated utterance, but he repeats it several times. 
I see you nod your assent, as you are acquainted with 
the passages ; and did you deny it, I would produce 



nunc reprehendo quod ad voluptatem omnia referan- 
tur (alia est ea quaestio), sed doceo deos vestros esse 
voluptatis expertes, ita vestroiudicio ne beatos quidem . 

114 XLI. ' At dolore vacant.* Satin est id ad illam 
abundantem bonis vitam beatissimam ? * Cogitat ' 
inquiunt * adsidue beatum esse se ; habet enim 
nihil aUud quod agitet in mente.' Conprehende igitur 
animo et propone ante oculos deum nihil aHud in 
omni aeternitate nisi ' Mihi pulchre est ' et ' Ego 
beatus sum ' cogitantem. Nec tamen video quo 
modo non vereatur iste deus beatus ne intereat, 
cum sine ulla intermissione pulsetur agiteturque 
atomorum incursione sempiterna, cumque ex ipso 
imagines semper afluant. Ita nec beatus est vester 
deus nec aeternus. 

115 " * At etiam de sanctitate, de pietate adversus deos 
hbros scripsit Epicurus.' At quo modo in his loqui- 
tur ? Ut T. Coruncanium aut P. Scaevolam ponti- 
fices maximos te audire dicas, non eum qui sustu- 
lerit omnem funditus rehgionem nec manibus ut 
Xerxes sed rationibus deorum inmortahum templa 
et aras everterit. Quid est enim, cur deos ab homi- 
nibus colendos dicas, cum dei non modo homines non 

116 colant^ sed omnino nihil curent nihil agant ? ' At 
est eorum eximia quaedam praestansque natura, 
ut ea debeat ipsa per se ad se colendam alhcere 
sapientem.' An quicquam eximium potest esse in 

1 hominibus non consnlanL Manutius. 

•» Diogenes Laertius x. 2\) mentions a treatise of Epicurus 
Jlepl oaioT-rjTOS. 

" The Latin runs 'do not worship men,' and perhaps 
should be altered to give, ' do not study mcn's interests.' 


DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xl.— xli. 

the volumes. Not that I am at the moment criticiz- 
ing your making pleasure the sole standard of value — 
that belongs to another inquiry. What I am trying 
to prove is that your gods are incapable of pleasure, 
and therefore by your verdict can have no happiness 

4 either. XLI. * But they are free from pain.' Does 
that satisfy the ideal of perfect bhss, overflowing 
with good things ? ' God is engaged (they say) in 
ceaseless contemplation of his own happiness, for he 
has no other object for his thoughts.' I beg of you 
to reahze in your imagination a vivid picture of a 
deity solely occupied for all eternity in reflecting 
' What a good time I am having ! How happy I 
am ! ' And yet I can't see how this happy god of 
yours is not to fear destruction, since he is subjected 
without a moment's respite to the buffeting and 
josthng of a horde of atoms that eternally assail him, 
while from his own person a ceaseless stream of 
images is given off. Your god is therefore neither 
happy nor eternal. 

5 " * Yes, but Epicurus actually >\Tote books about (5) Epi- 
hohness'* and piety.' But what is the language of p"Jfncipies 
these books ? Such that you think you are hstening leaiiy fata, 
to a Coruncanius or a Scaevola, high priests, not to ° 
the man who destroyed the very foundations of 
rehgion, and overthrew — not by main force hke 
Xerxes, but by argument — the temples and the 

altars of the immortal gods. Why, what reason have 
you for maintaining that men owe worship to the 
gods, if the gods not only pay no respect to men,^ but 
L6 care for nothing and do nothing at all ? ' But deity 
possesses an excellence and pre-eminence Avhich must 
of its ovm. nature attract the worship of the wise.* 
Now how can there be any excellence in a being so 



ea natura quae sua voluptate laetans nihil nec actura 
sit umquam neque agat neque egerit ? quae porro 
pietas ei debetur a quo nihil acceperis ? aut quid 
omnino cuius nullum meritum sit ei deberi potest ? 
Est enim pietas iustitia adversum deos ; cum quibus 
quid potest nobis esse iuris, cum homini nulla cum 
deo sit communitas ? Sanctitas autem est scientia 
colendorum deorum ; qui quam ob rem colendi sint 
non intellego nullo nec accepto ab iis nec sperato 

117 bono. XLII. Quid est autem quod deos veneremur 
propter admirationem eius naturae in qua egregium 
nihil videmus^ ? 

" Nam superstitione, quod gloriari soletis, facile 
est liberari cum sustuleris omnem vim deorum ; nisi 
forte Diagoram aut Theodorum qui omnino deos esse 
negabant censes superstitiosos esse potuisse ; ego 
ne Protagoram quidem, cui neutrum licuerit, nec esse 
deos nec non esse. Horum enim sententiae omnium 
non modo superstitionem tollunt in qua inest timor 
inanis deorum, sed etiam reUgionem quae deormn 

118 cultu pio continetur. Quid, ii qui dixerunt totam 
de dis inmortahbus opinionem fictam esse ab homini- 
bus sapientibus rei pubhcae causa, ut quos ratio non 
posset eos ad officium rehgio duceret, nonne omnem 
rehgionem funditus sustulerunt ? Quid, Prodicus 
Cius, qui ea quae prodessent hominum vitae deorum 

* videamus Alan. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xli.— xlii. 

engrossed in the delights of his own pleasure that he 
always has been, is, and will continue to be entirely 
idle and inactive ? Furthermore how can you owe 
piety to a person who has bestowed nothing upon you ? 
or how can you owe anything at all to one who has 
done you no service ? Piety is justice towards the 
gods ; but how can any claims of justice exist be- 
tween us and them, if god and man have nothing in 
common ? HoHness is the science of divine worship ; 
but I fail to see why the gods should be worshipped 
if we neither have received nor hope to receive benefit 

17 from them. XLII. On the other hand what reason 
is there for adoring the gods on the ground of our 
admiration for the divine nature, if we cannot see 
that that nature possesses any special excellence ? 

" As for freedom from superstition, which is the 
favourite boast of your school, that is easy to attain 
when you have deprived the gods of all power ; unless 
perchance you think that it was possible for Diagoras 
or Theodorus to be superstitious, who denied the 
existence of the gods altogether. For my part, I 
don't see how it was possible even for Protagoras, 
who was not certain either that the gods exist or that 
they do not. For the doctrines of all these thinkers 
abohsh not only superstition, which implies a ground- 
less fear of the gods, but also rehgion, which consists 

8 in piously worshipping them. Take again those who 
have asserted that the entire notion of the immortal 
gods is a fiction invented by wise men in the interest of 
the state, to the end that those whom reason was 
powerless to control might be led in the path of 
duty by rehgion ; surely this view was absolutely and 
entirely destructive of rcHgion. Or Prodicus of Cos, 
who said that the gods were personifications of things 



m numero habita esse dixit, quam tandem religionem 

119 reliquit ? Quid, qui aut fortis aut claros aut potentis 
viros tradunt post mortem ad deos pervenisse, eos- 
que esse ipsos quos nos colere precari venerarique 
soleamus, nonne expertes sunt religionum omnium ? 
quae ratio maxime tractata ab Euhemero est, quem 
noster et interpretatus et secutus est praeter ceteros 
Ennius ; ab Euhemero autem et mortes et sepul- 
turae demonstrantur deorum ; utrum igitur hic con- 
firmasse videtur rehgionem an penitus totam sus- 
tuhsse? Omitto Eleusinem sanctam illam et 

ubi initiantur gentes orarum ultimae, 

praetereo Samothraciam eaque quae Lemni 

nocturno aditu occulta coluntur 
silvestribus saepibus densa, 

quibus explicatis ad rationemque revocatis rerum 
magis natura cognoscitur quam deorum. 

120 XLIII. " Mihi quidem etiam Democritus vir 
magnus in primis, cuius fontibus Epicurus hortulos 
suos inrigavit, nutare videtur in natura deorum. 
Tum enim censet imagines divinitate praeditas in- 
esse in universitate rerum, tum principia mentis quae 
sint^ in eodem universo deos esse dicit, tum ani- 
mantes imagines quae vel prodesse nobis soleant^ vel 

* sint Helndorf : sunt. ^ soleant dett. : solent A^ B. 

" The source of this verse is unknown. 
* Probably from the Philoctetes of Attius. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xlii.— xliii. 

bencficial to the life of man — pray what religion was 
9 left by his theory ? Or those who teach that brave 
or famous or powerful men have been deified after 
death, and that it is these who are the real objects 
of the M'orship, prayers and adoration which we are 
accustomed to oflTer — are not they entirely devoid 
of all sense of rehgion ? This theory was chiefly 
developed by Euhemerus, who was translated and 
imitated especially by our poet Knnius. Yet Eu- 
hemerus describes the death and burial of certain 
gods ; are we then to think of him as uphoiding 
reiigion, or rather as utterly and entirely destroy- 
ing it ? I say nothing of tlie holy and av/e-inspiring 
sanctuary of Eleusis, 

Where tribes from earth's remotest confines seek 

and I pass over Samothrace and those 

occult mysteries 
Which throngs of worshippers at dead of night 
In forest coverts deep do celebrate ^* 

at Lemnos, since such mysteries when interpreted 
and rationahzed prove to have more to do with natural 
science than with theologv. 
XLIII. " For my own part I believe that even that Democritus 
very eminent man Democritus, the fountain-head Ja^? n? ^ 
from which Epicurus derived the streams that watered theoiogy. 
his little garden, has no fixed opinion about the nature 
of the gods. At one moment he holds the view that 
the universe includes images endowed with di\ inity ; 
at another he says that there exist in this same uni- 
verse the elements from which the mind is com- 
pounded, and that these are gods ; at another, that 
they are animate images, which are wont to exercise 
a beneficent or harmful influence over us ; and again 



nocere, tum ingentis quasdam imagines tantasque 
ut universum mundum conplectantur extrinsecus. 
Quae quidem omnia sunt patria Democriti quam 

121 Democrito digniora ; quis enim istas imagines con- 
prehendere animo potest, quis admirari, quis aut 
cultu aut religione dignas iudicare ? 

" Epicurus vero ex animis hominum extraxit radici- 
tus rehgionem cum dis inmortahbus et opem et 
gratiam sustuUt. Cum enim optimam et praestan- 
tissimam naturam dei dicat esse, negat idem esse 
in deo gratiam : toUit id quod maxime proprium 
est optimae praestantissimaeque naturae. Quid 
enim mehus aut quid praestantius bonitate et bene- 
ficentia ? Qua cum carere deum vultis, neminem 
deo nec deum nec hominem carum,^ neminem ab eo 
amari, neminem diligi vultis. Ita fit ut non modo 
homines a deis sed ipsi dei inter se [ab ahis alii]*^ 
neglegantur. XLIV. Quanto Stoici mehus, qui a 
vobis reprehenduntur : censent autem sapientes 
sapientibus etiam ignotis esse amicos ; nihil est 
enim virtute amabilius,quam qui adeptus erit.ubicum- 

122 que erit gentium a nobis dihgetur. Vos autem quid 
maU datis cum <in>^ inbeciUitate gratificationem et 
benivolentiam ponitis ! Ut enim omittam vim et 
naturam deorum, ne homines quidem censetis nisi in- 
beciUi essent futuros beneficos et benignos fuisse } 
NuUa est caritas naturaUs inter bonos ? Carum 

^ caruin<esse> ? ed. * Cobet. ' Lambinus» 

" In the actual teaching of Democritus these scattered 
doctrines forined a consistcnt whole : the basis of the world 
is particles of divine fire, floating in space; groups of them 
form deities, vast beings of long hfe but not everlasting; 
some of the particles floating off from these enter the mind, 


DE NATURA DEORUM, I. xUii.— xliv. 

that they are certain vast images of such a size as 
to envelop and enfold the entire world." All these 
fancies are more worthy of Democritus's native city^ 

.21 than of himself ; for who could form a mental picture 
of such images ? who could adore them and deem 
them worthy of worship or reverence ? 

" Epicurus however, in abohshing divine benefi- Epicurean- 
cence and divine benevolence, uprooted and exter- d™inla'^ 
minated all rehgion from the human heart. For decries 
while asserting the supreme goodness and excellence benevo- 
of the divine nature, he yet denies to god the attri- ^^^^ 
bute of benevolence — that is to say, he does away 
with that which is the most essential element of 
supreme goodness and excellence. For what can be 
better or more excellent than kindness and bene- 
ficence ? Make out god to be devoid of either, and 
you make him devoid of all love, affection or esteem 
for any other being, human or divine. It follows not 
merely that the gods do not care for mankind, but 
that tiiey have no care for one another. XLIV, How 
much more truth there is in the Stoics, whom you 
censure ! They hold that all wise men are friends, 
even when strangers to each other, since nothing is 
more lovable than virtue, and he that attains to it 
will have our estecm in whatever country he dwells. 

[22 But as for you, what mischief you cause when you 
reckon kindness and benevolence as weaknesses ! 
Apart altogether from the nature and attributes of 
deity, do you think that even human beneficcnce and 
benignity aresolely dueto human infirmity? Isthere no 
natural affection between the good ? There is some- 

itself composed of similar particles, and give us knowledge 
of the gods. 

' Abdera in Thrace had a reputation for stupidity. 



ipsum verbum est amoris, ex quo amicitiae nomen 
est ductum ; quam si ad fructum nostrum refere- 
mus^ non ad illius commoda quem diligimus,^ non 
erit ista amicitia sed mercatura quaedam utilitatum 
suarum. Prata et arva et pecudum greges diliguntur 
isto modo, quod fructus ex iis capiuntur. hominum 
caritas et amicitia gratuita est ; quanto igitur magis 
deorum, qui nulla re egentes et inter se diligunt et 
hominibus consulunt. Quod^ ni* ita est,^ quid venera- 
mur quid precamur deos, cur sacris pontifices cur 
auspiciis augures praesunt, quid optamus a deis in- 
mortalibus, quid vovemus ? * At etiam liber est 
123 Epicuri de sanctitate.' Ludimur ab homine non 
tam faceto quam ad scribendi licentiam hbero. 
Quae enim potest esse sanctitas si dei humana non 
curant, quae autem animans natura nihil curans ? 
" Verius est igitur nimirum illud quod familiaris 
omnium nostrum Posidonius disseruit in Ubro quinto 
de natura deorum, nullos esse deos Epicuro videri, 
quaeque is de deis inmortalibus dixerit invidiae 
detestandae gratia dixisse ; neque enim tam de- 
sipiens fuisset ut homunculi similem deum fingeret, 
liniamentis dumtaxat extremis non habitu sohdo, 
membris hominis praeditum omnibus usu membrorum 
ne minimo quidem, exilem quendam atque perluci- 
dum, nihil cuiquam tribuentem nihil gratificantem, 

1 referemus A : referiinus pr. B, 
2 dilifz-imus dett. : dilifremus. 
^ quod Mayor : quid. 
* ni dett. : ne Ay B. ' est ? Mayor : sit 



thing attractive in the very sound of the word * love/ 
from which the Latin term for friendship is derived. 
If we base our friendship on its profit to ourselves, 
and not on its advantage to those whom we love, 
it will not be friendship at all, but a mere bartering 
of sehlsh interests. That is our standard of value for 
meadows and fields and herds of cattle : we esteem 
them for the profits that we derive from them ; 
but affection and friendship between men is disin- 
terested ; how much more so thercfore is that of the 
gods, who, although in need of nothing, yet both love 
each other and care for the interests ot men. If this 
be not 80, why do we worship and pray to them ? 
why have pontiffs and augurs to preside over our sacri- 
fices and auspices } w^hy make petitions and vow 
offerings to heaven } ' VVhy, but Epicurus (you tell 
53 me) actually wrote a treatise on hohness.' Epicurus Epicums 
is making fun of us, though he is not so much a ^^^jg^y^^o 
humorist as a loose and careless writer. For how can avoid 
hohness exist if the gods pay no heed to man's oduim^^ 
affairs ? Yet what is the meaning of an animate 
being that pays no heed to anything ? 

" It is doubtless therefore truer to say, as the good 
friend of us all, Posidonius, argued in the fifth book 
of his On the Nature of the Gods, that Epicurus does 
not really beheve in the gods at all, and that he said 
what he did about the immortal gods only for the 
sake of deprecating popular odium. Indeed he could 
not have been so senseless as really to imagine god to 
be hke a feeble human being, but resembhng him 
only in outhne and surface, not in sohd substance, 
and possessing all man's hmbs but entirely incapable 
of using them, an emaciated and transparent being, 
showing no kindness or beneficence to anybody, 



omnino nihil curantem nihil agentem. Quae natura 
primum nulla esse potest, idque videns Epicurus re 
124 tolHt oratione reUnquit deos ; deinde si maxime 
talis est deus ut nulla gratia nuUa hominum caritate 
teneatur, valeat — quid enim dicam ' propitius sit ' ? 
esse enim propitius potest nemini, quoniam ut 
dicitis omnis in inbecillitate est et gratia et caritas." 

• The formula of ceremonious farewell to a deity, in con- 
trast with vale, used in taking leave of a human being. 



caring for nothing and doing nothing at all. In 
the first place, a being of this nature is an absolute 
impossibihty, and Epicurus was aware of this, and 
so actually abohshes the gods, although professedly 
124 retaining thera. Secondly, even if god exists, yet is 
of such a nature that he feels no benevolence or 
affection towards men, good-bye to him, say I — not 
' God be gracious to me,' " why should I say that ? 
for he cannot be gracious to anybody, since, as you 
tell us, all benevolence and affection is a mark of 



1 I. Quae cum Cotta dixisset, tum Velleius " Ne 
ego " inquit " incautus qui cum Academico et eodem 
rhetore congredi conatus sim. Nam neque indi- 
sertum Academicum pertimuissem nec sine ista 
philosophia rhetorem quamvis eloquentem ; neque 
enim flumine conturbor inanium verborum, nec 
subtiUtate sententiarum si orationis est siccitas. 
Tu autem Cotta utraque re valuisti ; corona tibi 
et iudices defuerunt. Sed ad ista ahas : nunc 
Lucilium, si ipsi commodum est, audiamus." 

2 Tum Balbus : " Eundem equidem mahm audire 
Cottam, dum qua eloquentia falsos deos sustulit 
eadem veros inducat. Est enim et philosophi et 
pontificis et Cottae de dis inmortahbus habere non 
errantem et vagam ut Academici sed ut nostri 
stabilem certamque sententiam. Nam contra Epi- 
curum satis superque dictum est. Sed aveo audire 
tu ipse Cotta quid sentias." 

" An " inquit " obhtus es quid initio dixerim, 
faciUus me, talibus praesertim de rebus, quid non 

• The Academic logic was famous. 


1 I. Cotta having thus spoken, Velleius replied. Exposition 
" I am indeed a rash person," he said, " to attempt to t^S'^ 
join issue \vith a pupil of the Academy " who is also a undertaken 
trained orator. An Academic unversed in rhetoric Baibus!''"^ 
I should not have been much afraid of, nor yet an 

orator however eloquent who was not reinforced by 
that system of philosophy ; for I am not disconcerted 
by a mere stream of empty verbiage, nor yet by 
subtlety of thought if expressed in a jejune style. 
You however, Cotta, were strong in both points ; you 
only lacked a pubhc audience and a jury to hsten to 
you. But my answer to your arguments may wait 
until another time ; let us now hear Lucihus, if he 
himself is agreeable." 

2 " For my part," rejoined Balbus, " I had rather 
hsten to Cotta again, using the same eloquence that 
he employed in abohshing false gods to present a 
picture of the true ones. A philosopher, a pontiff and 
a Cotta should possess not a shifting and unsettled 
conception of the immortal gods, hke the Academics, 
but a firm and definite one like our school. As for 
refuting Epicurus, that has been accomphshed and 
more than accomplished already. But I am eager to 
hear what you tliink yourself, Cotta." 

" Have you forgotten," said Cotta, " what I said 
at the outset, that I find it more easy, especially on 



3 sentirem quam quid sentirem posse dicere ? Quodsi 
haberem aliquid quod liqueret, tamen te vicissim 
audire vellem, cum ipse tam multa dixissem." 

Tum Balbus : " Geram tibi morem ; et agam 
quam brevissume potero, etenim convictis Epicuri 
erroribus longa de mea disputatione detracta oratio 
est. Omnino dividunt nostri totam istam de dis 
inmortalibus quaestionem in partis quattuor : pri- 
mum docent esse deos, deinde quales sint, tum 
mundum ab iis administrari, postremo consulere 
eos rebus humanis. Nos autem hoc sermone quae 
priora duo sunt sumamus ; tertium et quartum, quia 
maiora sunt, puto esse in aliud tempus differenda." 

** Minime vero " inquit Cotta ; " nam et otiosi 
sumus et iis de rebus agimus quae sunt etiam negotiis 

4 II. Tum Lucilius " Ne egere quidem videtur " 
inquit " oratione prima pars. Quid enim potest esse 
tam apertum tamque perspicuum, cum caelum su- 
speximus caelestiaque contemplati sumus, quam esse 
aliquod numen praestantissimae mentis quo haec 
regantur ? Quod ni ita esset, qui potuisset adsensu 
omnium dicere Ennius : 

Aspice hoc sublime candens, quem invocant omnes lovem, 

illum vero et lovem et dominatorem rerum et omnia 
nutu regentem et, ut idem Ennius, 

patrem divumque hominumque, 


such subjects as these, to say what I don't think than 

3 what I do ? Even if I had any clear view, I should 
still prefer to hear you speak in your turn, now that 
I have said so much myself." 

" Well," repHed Balbus, " I will yield to your wish ; 
and I shall be as brief as I can, for indeed when the 
errors of Epicurus have been refuted, my argument 
is robbed of all occasion for prohxity. To take a Dinsion of 
general view, the topic of the immortal gods which StVtiur' 
you raise is divided by our school into four parts : partc. 
first they prove that the gods exist ; next they ex- 
plain their nature ; then they show that the world 
is governed by them ; and lastly that they care for the 
fortunes of mankind. In our present discourse how- 
ever let us take the first two of these heads; the third 
and fourth, being questions of greater magnitude, 
had better I think be put off to another time." 

" No, no," cried Cotta, '• we are at leisure now, and 
moreover the subjects which we are discussing might 
fitly claim precedence even of matters of business." 

4 II. " The first point," resumed Lucihus, " seems i. Proofof 
not even to require arguing. For when we gaze up- exfstelTce* 
ward to the sky and contemplate the heavenly bodies, (§§ 4-44). 
what can be so obvious and so manifest as tliat there io^s' e^xist- 
must exist some power possessincr transcendent in- '^.^^^ proved 

X ± o Ironi obs6rv« 

teUigence by whom these things are ruled ? Were ation of tha 
it not so, how comes it that the words of Ennius carry '^"^^^'«^ i 
conviction to all readers — 

Behold this dazzling vault of heaven, which all mankind 
as Jove invoke, 

ay, and not only as Jove but as sovereign of the 
world, ruhng all things with his nod, and as Ennius 
hkewise says — 

father of gods and men, 

F 125 


et praesentem ac praepotentem deum ? Quod qui 
dubitet, haud sane intellego cur non idem sol sit an 

6 nullus sit dubitare possit ; qui enim est hoc illo 
evidentius ? Quod nisi cognitum conprehensumque 
animis haberemus, non tam stabiUs opinio per- 
maneret nec confirmaretur diuturnitate temporis nec 
una cum saechs aetatibusque hominum inveterari 
potuisset. Etenim videmus ceteras opiniones fictas 
atque vanas diuturnitate extabuisse. Quis enim 
Hippocentaurum fuisse aut Chimaeram putat, quae- 
ve anus tam excors inveniri potest quae illa quae quon- 
dam credebantur apud inferos portenta extimescat ? 
Opinionis^ enim commenta delet dies. naturae iudicia 

** Itaque et in nostro populo et in ceteris deorum 
cultus religionumque sanctitates exsistunt in dies 

6 maiores atque meliores, idque evenit non temere 
nec casu, sed quod et praesentes saepe di vim suam 
declarant, ut et apud Regillum bello Latinorum, cum 
A. PostumiusdictatorcumOctavio MamiHoTusculano 
proeHo dimicaret, in nostra acie Castor et Pollux ex 
equis pugnare visi sunt, et recentiore memoria iidem 
Tyndaridae Persem victum nuntiaverunt. P. enim 
Vatinius, avus huius adulescentis, cum e^ praefectura 
Reatina Romam venienti noctu duo iuvenes cum 
equis albis dixissent regem Persem illo die captum, 

* opinionis det. : -ne A, B, -num B corr, 
2 <ei> e Heindorf. 



a deity omnipresent and omnipotent ? If a man 
doubts this, I really cannot see why he should not 
also be capable of doubting the existence of tlie sun ; 

6 how is the hitter fact more evident than the former ? [^^^g^^°™ 
Nothing but the presence in our minds of a firmly sensns of 
grasped concept of the deity could account for the mankmd ; 
stabiHty and permanence of our behef in him, a 
behef which is only strengthened by the passage of 
the ages and grows more deeply rooted with each 
successive generation of mankind. In every other 
case we see that fictitious and unfounded opinions 
have dwindled away with lapse of time. Who be- 
heves that the Hippocentaur or the Chimaera ever 
existed ? Where can you find an old wife senseless 
enough to be afraid of the monsters of the lower 
world that were once beheved in ? The years obhter- 
ate the inventions of the imagination, but confirm the 
judgements of nature. 

" Hence bothinourown nation and among allothers 
reverence for the gods and respect for rehgion grow 

6 continually stronger and more profound. Nor is this (3) from 
unaccountable or accidental ; it is the result, firstly, epiphanies; 
of the fact that the gods often manifest their power 
in bodily presence. For instance in the Latin War, 
at the critical battle of Lake Regillus between the 
dictator Aulus Postumius and Octavius Mamihus of 
Tusculum, Castor and PoUux were seen fighting on 
horseback in our ranks. And in more modern history 
hkewise these sons of Tyndareus brought the news 
of the defeat of Perses. What happened was that 
Pubhus Vatinius, the grandfather of our young con- 
temporary, was returning to Rome by night from 
Reate, of which he was governor, when he was in- 
formed by two young warriors on white horses that 



<cuin>^ senatui^ nuntiavisset,^ primo quasi temere 
de re publica locutus in carcerem coniectus est, post 
a Paulo litteris allatis cum idem dies constitisset, et 
agro a senatu et vacatione donatus est. Atque etiara 
cum ad fluvium Sagram Crotoniatas Locri maximo 
proelio devicissent, eo ipso die auditam esse eam 
pugnam ludis Olympiae memoriae proditum est. 
Saepe Faunorum voces exauditae, saepe visae formae 
deorum quemvis non aut hebetem aut impium deos 
praesentes esse confiteri coegerunt. 
7 III. " Praedictiones vero et praesensiones rerum 
futurarum quid aliud declarant nisi hominibus* ea 
quae futura^ sint ostendi monstrari portendi prae- 
dici ? ex quo illa ostenta monstra portenta prodigia 
dicuntur. Quodsi ea* ficta credimus hcentia fabu- 
larum, Mopsum Tiresiam Amphiaraum Calchantem 
Helenum (quos tamen augures ne ipsae quidem 
fabulae adscivissent si res omnino repudiaret), ne 
domesticis quidem exempHs docti numen deorum 
conprobabimus ? Nihil nos P. Claudi bello Punico 
primo temeritas movebit ? qui etiam per iocum deos 
Inridens, cum cavea Hberati pulh non pascerentur 
mergi eos in aquam iussit, ut biberent quoniam esse 
nollent ; qui risus classe devicta multas ipsi lacrimas, 

* add. Vahlen. ^ senatuique dett. 

* nuntiavit ct det. * hominibus <divinitus> Brieger, 
* futura om. Ay B (quae . . . sint om. edd.). 
• externa lleindorf. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, II. ii.— iii. 

King Pcrses had that very day been taken prisoner. 
Whcn Vatinius can-ied the news to the Senate, at 
first he was flung into gaol on the charge of spreading 
an unfoundcd report on a niatter of national concern ; 
but afterwards a dispatcli arrived from Pauhis, and 
the date was found to tally, so the Senate bestowed 
upon Vatinius both a grant of land and exemption 
from mihtary service. It is also recorded in history 
that when the Locrians v.on their great victory over 
the people of Crotona at the important battle of the 
River Sagra, news of the engagement was reported 
at the Olympic Games on the very same day. Often 
has the sound of the voices of the Fauns, often has 
the apparition of a di\"ine form compelled anyone 
that is not either feeble-minded or impious to admit 
tlie real presence of the gods. 

III. " Again,prophecies and premonitions of future (4) from the 
events cannot but be taken as proofs that the future dlvL^ation, 
may appear or be foretokl as a warning or portended 
or predicted to mankind — hence the very words 
' apparition,' * warning,' * portcnt,' ' prodigy.' Even 
if we think that the stories of Mopsus, Tiresias, 
Amphiaraus, Calchas and Helenus are mere baseless 
fictions of romance (though their powers of divination 
would not even have been incorporated in the legends 
had they been entirely repugnant to fact), shall not 
even the instances from our own native history teach 
us to acknowledge the divine power ? shall we be 
unmoved by the story of the recklessness of Pubhus 
Claudius in the first Punic War ? Claudius merely 
in jest mocked at the gods : when the chickens on 
being released from their cage refuscd to feed, he 
ordered them to be thrown into the water, so that as 
they would not eat they might drink ; but the joke 



magnam populo Romano cladem attulit. Quid ? 
collega eius lunius eodem bello nonne tempestate 
classem amisit cum auspiciis non paruisset ? Itaque 
Claudius a populo condemnatus est, lunius necem 

8 sibi ipse conscivit. C. Flaminium Caelius religione 
neglecta cecidisse apud Trasumenum scribit cum 
magno rei publicae vulnere. Quorum exitio intellegi 
potest eorum imperiis rem publicam amplificatam 
qui religionibus paruissent. Et si conferre volumus 
nostra cum externis, ceteris rebus aut pares aut 
etiam inferiores reperiemur, religione id est cultu 

9 deorum multo superiores. An Atti Na\-ii lituus 
ille, quo ad investigandum suem regiones vineae ter- 
minavit, contemnendus est ? Crederem, nisi eius 
augurio rex Hostilius maxima bella gessisset. Sed 
neglegentianobilitatis augurii disciplina omissa veritas 
auspiciorum spreta est. species tantum retenta ; ita- 
que maximae rei publicae partes, in his bella quibus 
rei publicae salus continetur, nullis auspiciis admini- 
strantur, nulla peremnia servantur, nulla ex acumini- 
bus, nuUa cum^ viri vocantur (ex quo in procinctu 

^ nulla cum Schdmann : nulli. 

" Cicero's memory has played him false over suem and 
uvam. In Liv. i. 3, ii. 80, he says Attus (in the reign of 
Tar(|uinius Priscus) had vowed to the Lares the largestbunch 
of grapes in his vineyard if he found a strayed pig. He 
foiiud it, and then discovered by augury in which quarter 
of the vineyard to look for the largest bunch. 


cost the jester himself many tears and the Roman 
people a great disaster, for the fleet was severely 
defeated. Moreover did not his coUeague Juniiis 
during the same war lose his fleet in a storm after 
faihng to comply with the auspices ? In consequence 
of these disasters Claudius was tried and condemned 
for high treason and Junius committed suicide. 

1 Caehus writes that Gaius Flaminius after ignoring 
the claims of religion fell at the battle of Trasimene, 
when a serious blow was inflicted on the state. The 
fate of these men may serve to indicate that our 
empire was won by those commanders w^ho obeyed 
the dictates of rehgion. Moreover if we care to 
compare our national cliaracteristics with those of 
foreign peoples, we shall flnd that, while in all other 
respects we are only the equals or even the inferiors 
of others, yet In the sense of rehgion, that is, in 

) reverence for the gods, we are far superior. Or are 
we to make ho;ht of the famous auffural staff of Attus 
Navius, wherewith he marked out the vineyard into 
sections for the purpose of discovering the pig <^ ? I 
would agree that we might do so, had not King 
HostiUus fought great and glorious wars under the 
guidance of Attus's augury. But owing to the care- 
lessness of our nobihty the augural lore has been for- 
gotten, and the reahty of the auspices has fallen into 
contempt, only the outward show being retained ; 
and in consequence highly important departments of 
pubhc administration, and in particular the conduct 
of wars upon which the safety of the state depends, 
are carried on without any auspices at all ; no taking 
of omens when crossing rivers, none when hghts 
flash from the points of the javehns, none when men 
are called tc ai-ras (owing to which wiils made on 



testamenta perierunt, tum enim bella gerere nostri 

10 duces incipiunt cum auspicia posuerunt). At vero 
apud maiores tanta religionis vis fuit ut quidam im- 
peratores etiam se ipsos dis inmortalibus capite velato 
verbis certis pro re publica devoverent. Multa ex 
Sibyllinis vaticinationibus multa ex haruspicum re- 
sponsis commemorare possum quibus ea confirmen- 
tur quae dubia nemini debent esse. IV. Atqui 
et nostrorum augurum et Etruscorum haruspicum 
disciplinam P. Scipione^ C. Figulo consulibus res ipsa 
probavit ; quos cum Ti. Gracchus consul iterum 
crearet, primus rogator ut eos rettuHt ibidem est 
repente mortuus. Gracchus cum comitia nihilo 
minus peregisset remque illam in rehgionem populo 
venisse sentiret, ad senatum rettuht. Senatus ' quos 
ad soleret ' referendum censuit. Haruspices intro- 
ducti responderunt non fuisse iustum comitiorum 

11 rogatorem. Tum Gracchus, ut e patre audiebam, 
incensus ira : ' Itane vero ? ego non iustus, qui et 
consul rogavi et augur et auspicato ? an vos Tusci ae 
barbari auspiciorum popuh Romani ius tenetis et 
interpretes esse comitiorum potestis ? ' Itaque tum 
illos exire iussit ; post autem e provincia litteras ad 
collegium misit se cum legeret hbros recordatum esse 

^ <in> P. Scipione <et> Bouhler. 

° The Etruscans diffcred from the Graeco-Italic races in 
cii^-toms, rehgion, and language. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. iii.— iv. 

active service have gone out of existence, since our 
generals only enter on their mihtary command 
when they have laid do^\Ti their augural powers). 

10 But among our ancestors rehgion was so powerful 
that some commanders actually offered themsclves 
as victims to the immortal gods on behalf of the 
state, veihng their heads and formally vo^lng them- 
selves to death. I could quote numerous passages 
from the Sibyhine prophecies and from the oracles 
of soothsayers in confirmation of facts that no one 
really ought to question. IV. Why, in the consul- 
ship of Publius Scipio and Gaius Figulus both our 
Roman augural lore and that of the Etruscan sooth- 
sayers were confirmed by the evidence of actual fact. 
Tiberius Gracchus, then consul for the second timc, 
was holding the election of his successors. The first 
returning officer in the very act of reporting the 
persons named as elected suddenly fell dead. Grac- 
chus nevertheless proceeded with the election. Per- 
ceiving that the scruples of the pubhc had been 
aroused by the occurrence, he referred the matter to 
the Senate. The Senate voted that it be referred 
* to the customary ofiicials.' Soothsayers were sent 
for, and pronounced that the returning officer for the 

11 clectionshadnotbeeninorder. ThereuponGracchus, 
so my father used to tell me, burst into a rage. 
' How now } ' he cried, ' was I not in order ? I put 
the names to the vote as consul, as augur, and with 
aus]^ices taken. Who are you, Tuscan barbarians," to 
know the Roman constitution, and to be able to lay 
down the law as to our elections .'' ' And accordingly 
he then sent them about their business. Afterwards 
however he sent a dispatch fron\ his province to the 
CoUege of Augurs to say that while reading the sacrcd 



vitio sibi tabernaculum captum fuisse hortos^ Scipio- 
nis, quod cum pomerium postea intrasset habendi 
senatus causa in redeundo cum idem pomerium 
transiret auspicari esset oblitus ; itaque vitio creatos 
consules esse. Augures rem ad senatum ; senatus ut 
abdicarent consules ; abdicavcrunt. Quae quae- 
rimus exempla maiora ? Vir sapientissimus atque 
haud sciam an omnium praestantissimus peccatum 
suum quod celari posset confiteri maluit quam haerere 
in re publica religionem, consules summum imperiura 
statim deponere quam id tenere punctum temporis 

12 contra rehgionem. Magna augurum auctoritas ; 
quid, haruspicum ars nonne divina ? Haec et 
innumerabilia ex eodem genere qui videat nonne 
cogatur confiteri deos esse ? Quorum enim inter- 
pretes sunt eos ipsos esse certe necesse est ; deorum 
autem interpretes sunt ; deos igitur esse fateamur. 
At fortasse non omnia eveniunt quae praedicta sunt. 
Ne aegri quidem quia non omnes convalescunt 
idcirco ars nulla medicina est. Signa ostenduntur a 
dis rerum futurarum ; in his si qui erraverunt, non 
deorum natura sed hominum coniectura peccavit. 

" Itaque inter omnis omnium gentium summa 
constat ; omnibus enim innatum est et in animo 

13 quasi insculptum esse deos. V. Quales sint varium 

^ ^ad> hortos Schomann, in hortis Lainhinus. 

" The validity of the military auspices expired when the 
magistrates returned within the city. 


books it had come to his mind that there had been 
an irregularity when he took Scipio's park as the site 
for his augural tent, for he had subsequently entered 
the city bounds to hold a meeting of the Senate and 
when crossing the bounds again on his return had for- 
gotten to take the auspices '^ ; and that therefore the 
consuls had not been duly elected. The CoUege of 
Augurs referred the matter to the Senate ; the Senate 
decided that the consuls must resign ; they did so. 
What more striking instances can we demand ? A 
man of the greatest wisdom and I may say unrivalled 
distinction of character preferred to make pubUc con- 
fession of an ofFence that he might have concealed 
rather than that the stain of impiety should cUng to 
the commonwealth ; the consuls preferred to retire 
on the spot from the highest office of the state rather 
than hold it for one moment of time in viokation of 
12 rehgion. The augur's office is one of high dignity ; 
surely the soothsayer's art also is divinely inspired. 
Is not one who considers these and countless similar 
facts compelled to admit that the gods exist ? If there 
be persons who interpret the will of certain beings, 
it follows that those bcings must themselves exist ; 
but there are persons who interpret the will of the 
gods ; therefore we must admit that the gods exist. 
But perhaps it may be argued that not all prophecies 
come true. Nor do all sick persons get well,but that 
does not prove that there is no art of medicine. Signs 
of future events are manifested by the gods ; men 
may have mistaken these signs, but the fault lay with 
man's powers of inference, not with the divine nature. 
" Hence the main issue is agreed among all men 
of all nations, inasmuch as all have engraved in 
their minds an innate belief that the gods exist. 



est, esse nemo negat. Cleanthes quidem noster 
quattuor de causis dixit in animis hominum infor- 
matas deorum esse notiones. Primam posuit eam 
de qua modo dixi, quae orta esset ex praesensione 
rerum futurarum ; alteram, quam ceperimus^ ex 
magnitudine commodorum quae percipiuntur caeh 
temperatione fecunditate terrarum aharumque com- 

14 moditatum conplurium copia ; tertiam, quae terreret 
animos fuhiiinibus tempestatibus nimbis nivibus 
grandinibus vastitate pestilentia terrae motibus et 
saepe fremitibus lapideisque imbribus et guttis 
imbrium quasi cruentis, tum labibus aut repentinis 
terrarum hiatibus, tum praeter naturam hominum 
pecudumque portentis, tum facibus visis caelestibus, 
tum stelhs iis quas Graeci cometas nostri cincinnatas 
vocant, quae nuper beho Octaviano magnarum fue- 
runt calamitatum praenuntiae, tum sole geminato, 
quod ut e patre audivi Tuditano et Aquiho consuhbus 
evenerat, quo quidem anno P. Africanus sol alter 
extinctus est, quibus exterriti homines vim quandam 

15 esse caelestem et divinam suspicati sunt ; quartam 
causam esse eamque vel maximam aequabihtatem 
motus conversionumque^ caeh, sohs lunae siderumque 
omnium distinctionem varietatem pulchritudinem 
ordinem, quarum rerum aspectus ipse satis indicaret 
non esse ea fortuita. Ut, si quis in domum ahquam 

^ caperemus Bake. 

' conversionumque Ernesti : conversionem Mss. : <con- 
stantiamque> conversionum Regenhart. 

" Gn. Octavius, cos. 87 b.c, was a partisan of Sulla, who 
was then at war with Mitliridates; the otlier consul Cinna 
supported Marius. Fighting took place between them and 
Octavius fell. 

** The proscriptions of Marius and Sulla. 


13 y. As to their nature there are various opinions, 

but their existence nobody denies. Indeed our (=>) Ckjn- 
master Cleanthes gave four reasons to account for the ^nankimf 
formation in men's minds of their ideas of the gods. expiainedby 
He put first the argument of which I spoke just now, 
the one arising from our foreknowledge of future 
events ; second, the one drawn from the magnitude 
of the benefits which we derive from our temperate 
chmate, from the earth's fertihty, and from a vast 

14 abundance of other blessings ; third, the awe in- 
spired by hghtning, storms, rain, snow, hail, floods, 
pestilences, earthquakes and occasionally subter- 
ranean rumbhngs, showers of stones and raindrops the 
colour of blood, also landshps and chasms suddenly 
opening in the ground, also unnatural monstrosities 
human and animal, and also the appearance of 
meteoric lights and what are called b^^ the Greeks 
' comets,' and in our language * long-haired stars,' 
such as recently during the Octavian War " appeared 
as harbingers of dire disasters,^ and the doubhng of 
the sun, which my father told me had happened in 
the consulship of Tuditanus and AquiUus, the year*' in 
which the hght was quenched of Pubhus Africanus, 
that second sun of Rome : all of which ahirming 
portents have suggested to mankind the idea of 

15 the existence of some celestial and divine power. And 
the fourth and most potent cause of the behef he said 
was the uniform motion and revolution of the heavens, 
and the varied groupings and ordered beauty of the 
sun, moon and stars, the very sight of which was in 
itself enough to prove that these things are not the 
mere effect of chance. When a man goes into a house, 

• 129 B.c. He was found dead in his bed,but the murderer 
was not discovercd ; c/. iii. 80. 



aut in gymnasium aut in forum venerit, cum videat 
omnium rerum rationem modum disciplinam non 
possit ea sine causa fieri iudicare sed esse aliquem 
intellegat qui praesit et cui pareatur, multo magis 
in tantis motionibus tantisque vicissitudinibus, tam 
multarum rerum atque tantarum ordinibus, in quibus 
nihil umquam inmensa et infinita vetustas mentita 
sit, statuat necesse est ab aliqua mente tantos naturae 
motus gubernari. 

16 VI. " Chrysippus quidem, quamquam est acerrimo 
ingenio, tamen ea dicit ut ab ipsa natura didicisse 
non ut ipse repperisse videatur. ' Si enim * 
inquit * est aliquid in rerum natura quod hominis 
mens quod ratio quod vis quod potestas humana 
efficere non possit, est certe id quod illud efficit 
homine meUus ; atqui res caelestes omnesque eae 
quarum est ordo sempiternus ab homine confici 
non possunt ; est igitur id quo^ illa conficiuntur 
homine meUus ; id autem quid potius dixeris quam 
deum ? Etenim si di non sunt, quid esse potest 
in rerum natura homine mehus ? in eo enim solo 
est ratio, qua nihil potest esse praestantius ; esse 
autem hominem qui nihil in omni mundo meHus 
esse quam se putet desipientis adrogantiae est ; 
ergo est ahquid meUus ; est igitur profecto deus.* 

17 An vero si domum magnam pulchramque videris 
non possis adduci ut etiamsi dominum non videas 

* a quo dett, 


a ^vrestling-school or a public assembly and observes 
in all that goes on arrangement, regularity and 
system, he cannot possibly suppose that these things 
come about without a cause : he reaUzes that there 
is someone who presides and controls. Far more 
therefore with the vast movements and phases of the 
heavenly bodies, and these ordered processes of a 
multitude of enormous masses of matter, which 
throughout the countless ages of the infinite past have 
never in the smallest degree played false, is he com- 
pelled to infer that these mighty world-motions are 
regulated by some Mind. 

16 VI. " Extremely acute of intellect as is Chrysippus, (6) Proof of 
nevertheless his utterance here might well appear to ^iJg „^ilf^?JJse 
have been learnt from the very lips of Nature, and not 3how.s the 
discovered by himself. ' If (he says) there be some- more than° 
thing in the world that man's mind and huvnan iiuman 
reason, strength and power are incapable of produc- 

ing, that which produces it must necessarily be 
superior to man ; now the heavenly bodies and all 
those things that display a never-ending regularity 
cannot be created by man ; therefore that which 
creates them is superior to man ; yet what better 
name is there for this than " god " ? Indeed, if gods 
do not exist, what can there be in the universe 
superior to man ? for he alone possesses reason, which 
is the most excellent thing that can exist ; but for 
any human being in existence to think that there is 
nothing in the whole world superior to himself would 
be an insane piece of arrogance ; therefore there is 
something superior to man ; therefore God does (7) The 

17 exist.' Again, if you see a spacious and beautiful g^^j['p®J JJ^. 
house, you could not be induced to beheve, even super- 
though you could not see its master, that it was built inli^bitants. 



muribus illam et mustelis aedificatam putes: — taii' 
tum ergo ornatum mundi, tantam varietatem pul- 
chritudinemque rerum caelestium, tantam vim et 
magnitudinem maris atque terrarum si tuum ac non 
deorum inmortalium domicilium putes, nonne plane 
desipere ^-ideare ? An ne hoc quidem intellegimus, 
omnia supera esse mehora, terram autem esse 
infimam, quam crassissimus circumfundat aer ? 
ut ob eam ipsam causam quod etiam quibusdam 
regionibus atque urbibus contingere ^idemus hebe- 
tiora ut sint hominum ingenia propter caeh plenio- 
rem^ naturam, hoc idem generi humano evenerit 
quod in terra hoc est in crassissima regione mundi 
18 conlocati sint. Et tamen ex ipsa hominum sollertia 
esse aliquam^ mentem et eam quidem acriorem 
et divinam existimare debemus. Unde enim 
hanc homo * arripuit ' (ut ait apud Xenophontem 
Socrates) ? Quin et umorem et calorem qui est 
fusus in corpore et terrenam ipsam viscerum soh- 
ditatem, animum denique illum spirabilem si quis 
quaerat unde habeamus, apparet quod^ aliud a terra 
sumpsimus ahud ab umore aliud ab igni ahud ab 
aere eo quem spiritu* ducimus.^ VII. Ulud autem 
quod vincit haec omnia, rationem dico et, si placet 
phiribus verbis, mentem consilium cogitationem pru- 
dentiam, ubi invenimus, unde sustulimus ? An cetera 
mundus habebit omnia, hoc unum quod plurimi est 
non habebit ? Atqui certe nihil omnium rerura 
mehus est mundo nihil praestabihus nihil pulcriiis, 

^ pleniorem <umore> Usener. 

■ aliam quam SchOmann : aliquam <mundi> Mayor. 

^ quod : quorum Plasherg. 

*• spiritu edd. : spiritum mss. 

' diicinius (htt. : dicimus A, B. 

*• avvafnrdaai. Xen. Mem. i. 4. 8. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. vi.— vii. 

by mice and weasels ; if then you were to imagine 
that this elaborate universe, \vith all the variety and 
beauty of the heavenly bodies and the vast quantity 
and extent of sea and land, were your abode and not 
that of the gods, would you not be thought absolutely 
insane ? Again, do we not also understand that every- 
thing in a higher position is of greater value, and 
that the earth is the lowest thing, and is enveloped 
by a layer of the densest kind of air ? Hence for the 
same reason what we observe to be the case with 
certain districts and cities, I mean that their inhabit- 
ants are duller-witted than the average owing to the 
more compressed quahty of the atmosphere, has also 
befallen the human race as a whole owing to its being 
located on the earth, that is, in the densest region of 
18 the world. Yet even man's intelligence must lead us (s) Man'8 
to infer the existence of a mind <in the universe>, and h^irotiier ^ 
that a mind of surpassing abiUty, and in fact divine. eienients, is 
Otherwise, whence did man ' pick up ' ^ (as Socrates from the 
says in Xenophon) the intelligence that he possesses ? ""i^'«"®- 
If anyone asks the question, whence do we get the 
moisture and the heat diffused throughout the body, 
and the actual earthy substance of the flesh, and 
lastly the breath of life within us, it is manifest that 
we have derived the one from earth, the other from 
water, and the other from the air which we inhale in 
breathing. VII. But Mhere did we find, whence did 00 Reason 
we abstract, that other part of us which surpasses all toThe 
of these, I mean our reason, or, if you Hke to employ perfection 
several terms to denote it, our intelHgence, delibera- universa. 
tion, thought, wisdom ? Is the world to contain each 
of the other elements but not this one, the most 
precious of them all ? Yet beyond question nothing 
exists among all things that is superior to the world, 



nec solum nihil est sed ne cogitari quidem quicquam 
melius potest. Et si ratione et sapientia nihil est 
mehus, necesse est haec inesse in eo quod optimum 

19 esse concedimus. Quid vero, tanta rerum consentiens 
conspirans continuata cognatio quem non coget ea 
quae dicuntur a me conprobare ? Possetne uno^ 
tempore florere, dein vicissim horrere terra, aut tot 
rebus ipsis se inmutantibus sohs accessus discessusque 
solstitiis brumisque cognosci, aut aestus maritimi 
fretorumque angustiae ortu aut obitu lunae com- 
moveri, aut una totius caeh conversione cursus 
astrorum dispares conservari ? Haec ita fieri omni- 
bus inter se concinentibus mundi partibus profecto 
non possent nisi ea uno divino et continuato spiritu 

20 ** Atque haec cum uberius disputantur et fusius, 
ut mihi est in animo facere, facihus eifugiunt Aca- 
demicorum calumniam; cum autem, ut Zeno solebat, 
brevius angustiusque concluduntur, tum apertiora 
sunt ad reprendendum. Nam ut profluens amnis aut 
vix aut nuUo modo, conclusa autem aqua facile 
conrumpitur, sic orationis flumine reprensoris convicia 
diluuntur, angustia autem conclusae rationis non 
facile se ipsa tutatur. Haec enim quae dilatantur a 

21 nobis Zeno sic premebat ; VHI. * Quod ratione 
utitur id melius est quam id quod ratione non utitur ; 

* uno : verno Bouhier^ suo Reizenstein, 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. vii.— viii. 

nothing that is more excellent or more beautiful ; and 
not merely does nothing superior to it exist, but 
nothing superior can even be conceived. And if 
there be nothing superior to reason and wisdom, these 
faculties must necessarily be possessed by that being 

19 which we admit to be superior to all others. Again, (lo) The 
consider the sympathetic agreement, interconnexion pervSn^ 
and affinity of things : whom ^^-ill this not compel the parts o! 
to approve the trufh of what I say ? Would it be proves the 
possible for the earth at one definite time to be gay operation 
with flowers and then in turn all bare and stark, or spirit! 
for the spontaneous transformation of so many things 

about us to signal the approach and the retirement of 
the sun at the summer and the winter solstices, or for 
the tides to flow and ebb in the seas and straits M-ith 
the rising and setting of the moon, or for the different 
courses of the stars to be maintained by the one 
revolution of the entire sky ? These processes and 
this musical harmony of all the parts of the world 
assuredly could not go on were they not maintained 
in unison by a single divine and all-pervading spirit. 

20 " When one expounds these doctrines in a fuller (n) zeno 
and more flowin^ style, as I propose to do, it is easier P^o^'ed the 
lor them to evade the captious objections oi the rationaiity 
Academy ; but when they are reduced to brief syllo- fo?eits^^^' 
gistic form, as was the practice of Zeno, they lie more divinity> 
open to criticism. A running river can almost or 

qiiite entirely escape poUution, whereas an enclosed 
pool is easily sulhed ; similarly a flowing stream of 
eloquence sweeps aside the censures of the critic, 
but a closely reasoned argument defends itself with 
difficulty. The thoughts that we expound at length 

21 Zeno used to compress into this form : \TII. ' That 
which has the faculty of reason is superior to that 



nihil autem mundo melius ; ratione igitur mundus 
utitur.' Similiter efRci potest sapientem esse 
mundum, similiter beatum, similiter aeternum ; 
omnia enim haec meliora sunt quam ea quae sunt 
his carentia, nec mundo quicquam melius. Ex quo 
efficietur esse mundum deum. Idemque hoc modo t 

22 * Nullius sensu carentis pars aliqua potest esse 
sentiens ; mundi autem partes sentientes sunt ; 
non igitur caret sensu mundus.' Pergit idem et 
urget angustius : ' Nihil ' inquit ' quod animi quod- 
que rationis est expers, id generare ex se potest 
animantem conpotemque rationis ; mundus autem 
generat animantis compotesque rationis ; animans 
est igitur mundus composque rationis.' Idemque 
similitudine ut saepe solet rationem conclusit^ hoc 
modo : ' Si ex ohva modulate canentes tibiae 
nascerentur, num dubitares quin inesset in oliva 
tibicinii quaedam scientia ? Quid si platani fidi- 
culas ferrent numerose sonantes ? idem sciHcet 
censeres in platanis inesse musicam. Cur igitur 
mundus non animans sapiensque iudicetur, cum ex 
se procreet animantis atque sapientis ? ' 

23 IX. " Sed quoniam coepi secus agere atque initio 
dixeram (negaram enim hanc primam partem egere 
oratione, quod esset omnibus perspicuum deos esse), 
tamen id ipsum rationibus physicis (id est naturah- 
bus^) confirmare' volo. Sic enim res se habet ut 
omnia quae alantur* et quae crescant^ contineant in 

* concludit dett. * id . . . naturalibus om. Ald, 

■ confirmare dett.x -ri A, B. * aluntur dett. 

' crescunt dett. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. viii.— ix. 

which has not the faculty of reason ; but nothing is 
superior to the world ; therefore the world has the 
faculty of reason.' A similar argument can be used 
to prove that the world is wise, and happy, and 
eternal ; for things possessed of each of these attri- 
butes are superior to things devoid of them, and 
nothing is superior to the world. From this it will 
follow that the world is god. Zeno also argued thus : 

2 * Nothing devoid of sensation can have a part of itself 
that is sentient ; but the world has parts that are 
sentient ; therefore the world is not devoid of 
sensation.' He also proceeds to press the argument 
more closely : * Nothing,' he says, ' that is inanimate 
and irrational can give birth to an animate and 
rational being ; but the world gives birth to animate 
and rational beings ; therefore the world is animate 
and rational.' Furthermore he proved his argument 
by means of one of his favourite comparisons, as 
foUows : ' If flutes playing musical tunes grew on an 
ohve-tree, surely you w^ould not question that the 
ohve-tree possessed some knowledge of the art of 
flute-playing ; or if plane-trees bore well-tuned lutes, 
doubtlcss you would hkewise infer that the plane- 
trees possessed the art of music ; why then should we 
not judge the world to be animate and endowed with 
wisdom, when it produces animate and wise offspring?* 

3 IX. " However, having begun to treat the subject (i2) Argii- 
in a different way from that which I proposed at the physfcsT™ 
beginning (for I said that this part required no dis- 
cussion, since the existence of god was manifest to heat is the 
everybody), in spite of this I should Uke to prove even ^0^^!°°^^^^ 
this point by means of arguments drawn from Physics iight 

or Natural Philosophy. It is a law of Nature that all fhe wodd ; 
things capable of nurture and growth contain within 



se vim caloris, sine qua neque ali possent nec crescere; 
nam omne quod est calidum et igneum cietur et 
agitur motu suo ; quod autem alitur et crescit motu 
quodam utitur certo et aequabili ; qui quam diu 
remanet in nobis tam diu sensus et vita remanet, 
refrigerato autem et extincto calore occidimus ipsi 

24 et extinguimur. Quod quidem Cleanthes his etiam 
argumentis docet, quanta vis insit caloris in omni 
corpore : negat enim esse ullum cibum tam gravem 
quin is nocte et die concoquatur ; cuius etiam in 
reliquiis inest^ calor iis quas natura respuerit. lam 
vero venae et arteriae micare non desinunt quasi 
quodam igneo motu, animadversumque saepe est 
cum cor animantis alicuius evolsum ita mobiliter pal- 
pitaret ut imitaretur igneam celeritatem. Omne 
igitur quod vivit, sive animal sive terra editum, id 
vivit propter inclusum in eo calorem. Ex quo intellegi 
debet eam caloris naturam vim habere in se vitalem 
per omnem mundum pertinentem. 

25 " Atque id facilius cernemus toto genere hoc 
igneo quod tranat omnia subtihus exphcato. Omnes 
igitur partes mundi (tangam autem maximas) calore 
fultae sustinentur. Quod primum in terrena natura 
perspici potest. Nam et lapidum conflictu atque 
tritu ehci ignem videmus et recenti fossione * terram 
fumare calentem,' atque etiam ex puteis iugibus 
aquam cahdam trahi, et id maxime fieri temporibus 
hibernis, quod magna vis terrae cavernis contineatur^ 

^ insit Heindorf. * continetur dett. 

" Mayor detected here a verse-quotation from an unknown 


them a supply of heat, without which their nurture 
and growth would not be possible ; for everything of 
a hot, fiery nature suppHes its own source of motion 
and activity ; but that which is nourished and grows 
possesses a definite and uniform motion ; and as long 
as this motion remains within us, so long sensation 
and hfe remain, whereas so soon as our heat is cooled 
and quenched we ourselves perish and are extin- 

l guished. This doctrine Cleanthes enforces by these 
further arguments, to show how great is the supply of 
heat in every hving body : he states that there is no 
food so heavy that it is not digested in twenty-four 
hours ; and even the residue of our food which nature 
rejects contains heat. Again, the veins and arteries 
never cease throbbing ^^ith a flame-hke pulse, and 
frequent cases have been observed when the heart of 
an animal on being torn out of its body has continued 
to beat with a rapid motion resembhng the flickering 
of fire. Every Hving thing therefore, whether animal 
or vegetable, owes its vitahty to the heat contained 
within it. From this it must be inferred that this 
element of heat possesses in itself a vital force that 
pervades the whole world. 

) " We shall discern the truth of this more readily matter 
from a more detailed account of this all-permeating of heat^ll"' 
fiery element as a whole. All the parts of the world itsruiin;,' 
(I will however only specify the most important) are and tilero- 
supported and sustained by heat. This can be per- ^^^^-.^^^ 
ceived first of all in the element of earth. We see possessea 
fire produced by striking or rubbing stones together ; ^^^^^^^ 
and when newly dug, ' the earth doth steam with 
warmth ' <* ; and also w^arm water is drawn from 
running springs, and this occurs most of all in the 
winter-time, because a great store of heat is confined 



caloris eaque hieme sit^ densior ob eamque causam 
calorem insitum in terris contineat^ artius. X. 

26 Longa est oratio multaeque rationes quibus doceri 
possit omnia quae terra concipiat semina quaeque 
ipsa ex se generata stirpibus infixa contineat ea 
temperatione caloris et oriri et augescere. Atque 
aquae etiam admixtum esse calorem primum ipse 
liquor aquae declarat [effusio],^ quae neque con- 
glaciaret frigoribus neque nive pruinaque concresceret 
nisi eadem se admixto calore liquefacta et dilapsa 
diffunderet ; itaque et aquilonibus* reliquisque fri- 
goribus adiectis^ durescit umor et idem vicissim molli- 
tur tepefactus et tabescit calore. Atque etiam maria 
agitata ventis ita tepescunt ut intellegi facile possit 
in tantis illis umoribus esse inclusum calorem ; nec 
enim ille extemus et adventicius habendus est tepor 
sed ex intimis maris partibus agitatione excitatus, 
quod nostris quoque corporibus contingit cum motu 
atque exercitatione recalescunt. Ipse vero aer, qui 
natura est maxime frigidus, minime est expers calo- 

27 ris ; ille vero et multo quidem calore admixtus est, 
ipse enim oritur ex respiratione aquarum, earura 
enim quasi vapor quidam aer habendus est, is autem 
existit motu eius caloris qui aquis continetur, quam 
similitudinem cernere possumus in iis aquis* quae 
effervescunt subditis ignibus. lam vero rehqua quarta 
pars mundi : ea et ipsa tota natura fervida est et 

^ fil: dett. ^ continet Ileindorf. 

' eifusio om. det. : effusae B^ et fusio Gruter. 
* aquiloniis ? ed. ^ adstrictus Ileindorf. 

^ iis aqnis ed. Rom. : his aquis Mss.^ aeneis Allen (aeneis, 
aenis post quae addunt dett.). 



in the caverns of the earth, which in winter is denscr 
and therefore confines more closely the heat stored 

16 in the soil. X. It would require a long discourse and 
a great many arguments to enable me to show that 
all the seeds that earth receives in her womb, and all 
the plants which she spontaneously generates and 
holds fixed by their roots in the ground, owe both 
their origin and growth to this warm temperature of 
the soil. That water also contains an admixture of 
heat is shown first of all by its liquid nature ; water 
would neither be frozen into ice by cold nor congealed 
into snow and hoar-frost unless it could also becorae 
fluid when Hquefied and thawed by the admixture 
of heat ; this is why moisture both hardens when 
exposed to a north wind or a frost from some other 
quarter, and also in turn softens when warmed, and 
evaporates with heat. Also the sea when violently 
stirred by the wind becomes warm, so that it can 
readily be reaUzed that this great body of fluid con- 
tains heat ; for we must not suppose the warmth in 
question to be derived from some external source, but 
stirred up from the lowest depths of the sea by violent 
motion, just as happens to our bodies when they are 
restored to warmth by movement and exercise. In- 
deed the air itself, though by nature the coldest of 
the elements, is by no means entirely devoid of heat ; 

27 indeed it contains even a considerable admixture of 
heat, for it is itself generated by exhalation from 
water, since air must be deemed to be a sort of 
vaporized water, and this vaporization is caused by 
the motion of the heat contained in the water. We 
may see an example of the same process when water 
is made to boil by placing fire beneath it. — There 
remains the fourth element : this is itself by nature 



ceteris naturis omnibus salutarem inpertit et vitalem 

28 calorem. Ex quo concluditur, cum omnes mundi par- 
tes sustineantur calore, mundum etiam ipsum simili 
parique natura in tanta diuturnitate servari, eoque 
magis quod intellegi debet calidum illud atque 
igneum ita in omni fusum esse natura ut in eo insit 
procreandi vis et causa gignendi, a quo et animantia 
omnia et ea quorum stirpes terra continentur et 
nasci sit necesse et augescere. 

29 XI. " Natura est igitur^ quae contineat mundum 
omnem eumque tueatur, et ea quidera non sine sensu 
atque ratione ; omnem enim naturam necesse est 
quae non solitaria sit neque simplex sed cum alio 
iuncta atque conexa habere aliquem in se principa- 
tum, ut in homine mentem, in behia quiddam simile 
mentis unde oriantur rerum adpetitus ; in arborum 
autem et earum rerum quae gignuntur e terra radi- 
cibus inesse principatus putatur. Principatum autem 
id dico quod Graeci qyeixoviKov vocant, quo nihil in 
quoque genere nec potest nec debet esse praestan- 
tius ; ita necesse est illud etiam in quo sit totius 
naturae principatus esse omnium optimum omnium- 
que rerum potestate dominatuque dignissimum. 

30 Videmus autem in partibus mundi (nihil est enim in 
omni mundo quod non pars universi sit) inesse 
sensum atque rationem. In ea parte igitur in qua 

1 <ignea> igitur ? Mayor. 

" iSIayor would alter the Latin to give ' It Ls therefore the 
element of fire that . . .' 


glo^ving hot throughout and also imparts the warmth 
3 of health and Ufe to all other substances. Hence 
from the fact that all the parts of the world are sus- 
tained by heat the inference follows that the world 
itself also owes its continued preservation for so long 
a time to the same or a similar substance, and all the 
more so because it must be understood that this hot 
and fiery principle is interfused \\ith the whole of 
nature in such a way as to constitute the male 
and female generative principles, and so to be the 
necessary cause of both the birth and the gro^vth of all 
Hving creatures, whether animals or those whose roots 
are planted in the earth. 
9 XI. " There is therefore an element that holds ° the 
whole world together and preserves it, and this an 
element possessed of sensation and reason ; since 
every natural object that is not a homogeneous and 
simple substance but a complex and composite one 
must contain within it some ruUng principle, for 
example in man the intelligence, in the lower 
animals something resembhng intelligence that is the 
source of appetition. With trees and plants the 
ruhng principle is believed to be located in the roots. 
I use the term * ruUng principle ' as the equivalent 
of the Greek hegemo?iikon, meaning that part of any- 
thing which must and ought to have supremacy in 
a thing of that sort. Thus it follows that the element 
which contains the ruUng principle of the whole of 
nature must also be the most exceUent of aU things 
and the most deser\dng of authority and sovereignty 
3 over aU things. Now we observe that the parts of the 
world (and nothing exists in aU the world which is not 
apartofthe whole world) possess sensation and reason. 
Tiiercfore it foUows tliat that part which contains the 



mundi inest principatus haec inesse necesse est, et 
acriora quidem atque maiora. Quocirca sapientem 
esse mundum necesse est, naturamque eam quae 
res omnes conplexa teneat perfectione rationis 
excellere, eoque deum esse mundum omnemque 
vim mundi natura divina contineri. 

" Atque etiam mundi ille fervor purior perlucidior 
mobiliorque multo ob easque causas aptior ad sensus 
commovendos quam hic noster calor quo haec quae 

31 nota nobis sunt retinentur et vigent. Absurdum 
igitur est dicere, cum homines bestiaeque hoc calore 
teneantur et propterea moveantur ac sentiant, 
mundum esse sine sensu qui integro et hbero et 
puro eodemque acerrimo et mobilissimo ardore 
teneatur, praesertim cum is ardor qui est mundi non 
agitatus ab alio neque externo pulsu sed per se ipse 
ac sua sponte moveatur ; nam quid potest esse 
mundo^ valentius, quod pellat atque moveat calorem 

32 eum quo ille teneatur ? XII. Audiamus enim 
Platonem quasi quendam deum philosophorum ; cui 
duo placet esse^ motus, unum suum alterum exter- 
num, esse autem divinius quod ipsum ex se sua sponte 
moveatur quam quod pulsu agitetur aheno. Hunc 
autem motum in sohs animis esse ponit, ab hisque 
principium motus esse ductum putat. Quapropter 
quoniam ex mundi ardore motus omnis oritur, 
is autem ardor non aheno inpulsu sed sua sponte 

* <in> mundo Uoethe. ^ esse <genera> Ploiiherg. 

• Tiinaeus b"J. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xi.— xii. 

ruling priiiciple of the world must necessarily possess 
sensation and reason, and these in a more intense and 
higher form. Hence it follows that the world pos- 
sesses A^isdom, and that the element which holds all 
things in its embrace is pre-eminently and perfectly 
rational, and therefore that the world is god, and all 
the forces of the world are held together by the 
divine nature. 

" Moreover that glowing heat of the world is far 
purer and more briUiant and far more mobile, and 
therefore more stimulating to the senses, than this 
warmth of ours by which the things that we know are 

1 preserved and vitahzed. As therefore man and the since the 
animals are possessed by this warmth and owe to y^orid-iieat 
this their motion and sensation, it is absurd to say than oura, 
that the world is devoid of sensation, considering that nl!^ved^and 
it is possessed by an intense heat that is stainless, therefore 
free and pure, and also penetrating and mobile in the soan^'"^ 
extreme ; especially as this intense world-heat does 

not derive its motion from the operation of some 
other force from outside, but is self-moved and spon- 
taneous in its acti\dty : for how can there be any- 
thing more powerful than the world, to impart motion 
and activity to the warmth by which the world is held 

2 together .'' XII. Forletus hear Plato,^that divine philo' 
sopher, for so almost he is to be deemed. He holds 
that motion is of two sorts, one spontaneous, the other 
derived from without ; and that that which moves 
of itself spontaneously is more divine than that which 
has motion imparted to it by some force not its own. 
The former kind of motion he deems to rcside only in 
the soul, which he considers to be the only source and 
origin of motion. Hence, since all motion springs 
from the world-heat, and since that heat moves spon- 



movetur, animus sit necesse est ; ex quo efficitur 
animantem esse mundum. 

" Atque ex hoc quoque intellegi poterit in eo inesse 
intellegentiam, quod certe est mundus melior quam 
uUa natura ; ut enim nuUa pars est corporis nostri 
quae non minoris sit quam nosmet ipsi sumus, sic 
mundum universum pluris esse necesse est quam 
partem aliquam universi ; quod si ita est, sapiens 
sit mundus necesse est, nam ni ita esset, hominem 
qui esset^ mundi pars, quoniam rationis esset^ parti- 
ceps, pluris esse quam mundum omnem oporteret. 

33 " Atque etiam si a primis inchoatisque naturis ad 
ultimas perfectasque volumus procedere, ad deorum 
naturam perveniamus necesse est. Prima^ enira 
animadvertimus a natura sustineri ea quae gignantur 
e terra, quibus natura nihil tribuit amphus quam ut 

34 ea alendo atque augendo tueretur. Bestiis autem 
sensum et motum dedit et cum quodam adpetitu 
accessum ad res salutares a pestiferis recessum ; 
hoc homini ampUus quod addidit rationem, qua 
regerentur animi adpetitus, qui tum remitterentur 
tum continerentur. XIII. Quartus autem gradus 
est et altissimus eorum qui natura boni sapientesque 
gignuntur, quibus a principio innascitur ratio recta 
constansque, quae supra hominem putanda est 
deoque tribuenda, id est mundo, in quo necesse est 
perfectam illam atque absolutam inesse rationem. 

* est dett. > primo, primura dett. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xii.— xiii. 

taneously and not by any impulse from something 
else, it follows that that heat is soul ; which proves 
that the world is an animate being. 

" Another proof that the world possesses intelH- for the 
gence is supphed by the fact that the world is un- must^r'^^'^ 
questionably better than any of its elements ; for superior to 
even as there Is no part of our body that is not of less ^'^ ^" ^' 
value than we are ourselves, so the whole universe 
must needs be of higher worth tlian any portion of the 
universe ; and if this be so, it follow^s that the world 
must be endowed with wisdom, for, if it were not, 
man, although a part of the world, being possessed 
of reason would necessarily be of higher worth than 
the world as a whole. 

3 " x\gain, if we wish to proceed from the first rudi- (i3) Argu- 
mentary orders of being to the last and most perfect, Jhe"s^^iQ°S 
we shall necessarily arrive in the end at deity. We existence. 
notice the sustaining power of nature first in the anmuis^^^' 
members of the vegetable kingdom, towards which ^^-^^Ji^*" 
her bounty was Umited to providing for their preser- defty above 
vation by means of the faculties of nurture and ^'^^™- 

4 growth. Upon the animals she bestowed sensation 
and motion, and an appetite or impulse to approach 
things wholesome and retire from things harmful. 
For man she amphfied her gift by the addition of 
reason, whereby the appetites might be controlled, 
and alternately indulged and held in check. XIII. 
But the fourth and highest grade is that of beings 
born by nature good and wise, and endowed from the 
outset with the innate attributes of right reason and 
consistency ; this must be held to be above the level 
of man : it is the attribute of god, that is, of the 
world, which must needs possess that perfect and 

5 absolute reason of which I spoke. Again, it is un- 



35 Neque enim dici potest in ulla rerum institutione non 
esse aliquid extremum atque perfectum. Ut enim 
in vite ut in pecude nisi quae vis obstitit videmus 
naturam suo quodam itinere ad ultimum pervenire, 
atque ut pictura et fabrica ceteraeque artes habent 
quendam absoluti operis efFectum, sic in omni natura 
ac multo etiam magis necesse est absolvi aliquid 
ac perfici. Etenim ceteris naturis multa externa 
quo minus perficiantur possunt obsistere, universam 
autem naturam nuUa res potest impedire, propterea 
quod omnis naturas ipsa cohibet et continet. Quo- 
circa necesse est esse quartum illum et altissimum 

36 gradum quo nulla vis possit accedere. Is autem 
est gradus in quo rerum omnium natura ponitur ; 
quae quoniam tahs est ut et praesit omnibus et eam 
nulla res possit inpedire, necesse est intellegentem 
esse mundum et quidem etiam sapientem. 

" Quid autem est inscitius quam^ eam naturam 
quae omnis res sit conplexa non optumam dici, 
aut cum sit optuma non primum animantem esse, 
deinde rationis et consiUi compotem, postremo 
sapientem ? Qui enim potest aHter esse optuma ? 
Neque enim si stirpium simihs sit aut etiam bestia- 
rum, optuma putanda sit potius quam deterruma ; 
nec vero si rationis particeps sit nec sit tamen a 
principio sapiens, non sit deterior mundi potius quam 
humana condicio ; homo enim sapiens fieri potest, 
mundus autem si in aeterno praeteriti temporis spatio 
fuit insipiens, numquam profecto sapientiam con- 

* quam <aut> MamUins. 


deniable that every organic whole must have an ulti- A-1 things 
mate ideal of perfection. As in vines or in cattle \ve perfection, 
see that, unless obstructed by some force, nature pro- ]^^^ 
gresses on a certain path of her ovvn to her goal of full inture aione 
development, and as in painting, architecture and the canattainit. 
other arts and crafts there is an ideal of perfect work- 
manship, even so and far more in the world of nature 
as a whole there must be a process towards complete- 
ness and perfection. The various hmited modes of 
being may encounter many external obstacles to 
hinder their perfect reahzation, but there can be 
nothing that can frustrate nature as a whole, since 
she embraces and contains within herself all modes 
of being. Hence it follows that there must exist 
this fourth and highest grade, unassailable by any 
36 external force. Now this is the grade on which The worid, 
universal nature stands ; and since she is of such a i^^^ contain- 
character as to be superior to all things and incapable th"n-s and 
of frustration by any, it follows of necessity that the 5!//,"!^^"''® 
world is an inteUigent being, and indeed also a wise s iprenaeiy 
being. 5°S;--' 

" Again, what can be more illogical than to deny wisdomand 
that tlie being which embraces all things must be the "^^ ^* 
best of all things, or, admitting this, to deny that it 
must be, first, possessed of Hfe, secondly, rational and 
intelHgent, and lastly, endowed with wisdom ? How 
else can it be the best of all things ? If it resembles 
plants or even animals, so far from being highest, it 
must be reckoned lowest in the scale of being. If 
again it be capable of reason yet has not been wise 
from the beginning, the world must be in a worse 
condition than mankind ; for a man can become wise, 
but if in all the eternity of past time the world has 
been foolish, obviously it will never attain wisdom ; 
ti 157 


sequetur ; ita erit homine deterior. Quod quoniam 
absurdum est, et sapiens a principio mundus et deus 
habendus est. 

37 " Neque enim est quicquam aliud praeter mun- 
dum cui nihil absit quodque undique aptum atque 
perfectum expletumque sit omnibus suis numeris 
et partibus. XIV. Scite enim Chrysippus, ut clipei 
causa involucrum vaginam autem gladii, sic praeter 
mundum cetera omnia ahorum causa esse generata, 
ut eas fruges atque fructus quos terra gignit ani- 
mantium causa, animantes autem hominum, ut 
equum vehendi causa arandi bovem venandi et 
custodiendi canem ; ipse autem homo ortus est ad 
mundum contemplandum et imitandum, nullo modo 

38 perfectus, sed est quaedam particula perfecti. Sed 
mundus quoniam omnia conplexus est neque est 
quicquam quod non insit in eo, perfectus undique 
est ; qui igitur potest ei deesse id quod est optimum ? 
nihil autem est mente et ratione mehus ; ergo haec 
mundo deesse non possunt. Bene igitur idem Chrys- 
ippus, qui simihtudines adiungens omnia in perfectis 
et maturis docet esse mehora, ut in equo quam in 
eculeojin cane quam in catulo, in viro quaminpuero; 
item quod in omni mundo optimum sit id in perfecto 

39 ahquo atque absoluto esse debere ; est autem nihil 
mundo perfectius, nihil virtute mehus ; igitur mundi 
est propria virtus. Nec vero hominis natura perfecta 
est, et efhcitur tamen in homine virtus ; quanto igitur 

<• Mayor would transfer this sentence to the end of § 37. 

* This probably comes from Aristotle's lost dialogue D« 
Philosophiat see i. 33 n. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xiii.— xiv. 

and so it will be inferior to man. Which is absurd. 
Therefore the world must be deemed to have been 
wise from the beginning, and divine. 
n " In fact ^ there is nothing else beside the world that The worid 
has nothing wanting, but is fully equipped and com- ,,erfect, and 
plete and perfect in all its details and parts. XIV. therefore 

i, A-.1 1 ■),• 1-11 virtuous, 

ror as Cluysippus cleverly put it,° just as a snield-case rationai and 
is made for the sake of a shield and a sheath for the divine. 
sake of a sword, so everything else except the world 
was created for the sake of some other thing ; thus 
the corn and fruits produced by the earth were 
created for the sake of animals, and animals for the 
sake of man : for example the horse for riding, the 
ox for ploughing, the dog for hunting and keeping 
guard; man himself however came into existence 
for the purpose of contemplating and imitating the 
world ; he is by no means perfect, but he is ' a small 

J8 fragment of that which is perfect.' The world on the 
contrary, since it embraces all things and since no- 
thing exists which is not within it, is entirely perfect ; 
how then can it fail to possess that which is the best ? 
but there is nothing better than intelligence and 
reason ; the world therefore cannot fail to possess 
them. Chrysippus therefore also well shows by the 
aid of illustrations that in the perfect and mature 
specimen of its kind everything is better than in the 
imperfect, for instance in a horse than in a foal, in a 
dog than in a puppy, in a man than in a boy ; and 
that similarly a perfect and complete being is bound 
to possess that which is the best thing in all the world ; 

39 but no being is more perfect than the world, and 
nothing is better than virtue ; therefore virtue is an 
essential attribute of the world. Again, man's nature 
is not perfect, yet virtue may be reahzed in man ; 



in mundo facilius ; est ergo in eo virtus. Sapiens est 
igitur, et propterea deus. 

XV. " Atque hac mundi divinitate perspecta tri- 
buenda est sideribus eadem divinitas, quae ex mobi- 
lissima purissimaque aetheris parte gignuntur neque 
ulla praeterea sunt admixta natura totaque sunt 
caUda atque perlucida, ut ea quoque rectissime et 
animantia esse et sentire atque intellegere dicantur. 

40 Atque ea quidem tota esse ignea duorum sensuum 
testimonio confirmari Cleanthes putat, tactus et 
oculorum. Nam solis et candor^ inlustrior est quam 
ullius ignis, quippe qui inmenso mundo tam longe 
lateque conluceat, et is eius tactus est non ut tepe- 
faciat solum sed etiam saepe comburat, quorum 
neutrum faceret nisi esset igneus. ' Ergo ' inquit 
* cum sol igneus sit, Oceanique alatur umoribus quia 
nullus ignis sine pastu ahquo posset permanere, 
necesse est aut ei simiHs sit igni quem adhibemus ad 
usum atque victum aut et qui corporibus animantium 

41 continetur. Atqui hic noster ignis quem usus vitae 
requirit confector est et consumptor omnium, 
idemque quocumque invasit cuncta disturbat ac 
dissipat ; contra ille corporeus vitaUs et salutaris 
omnia conservat aht auget sustinet sensuque adficit.' 
Negat ergo esse dubium horum ignium sol utri 
simihs sit, cum is quoque efficiat ut omnia floreant 

* et candor Klotz : calor et candor A, B, candor dett, 


DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xiv.— xv. 

how much more readily then in the world ! therefore 
the world possesses virtue. Therefore it is wise, and 
consequently divine. 

XV. " Havinff thus perceived the divinity of the (i4)Divinity 

ij j. 1 • j-i T • •/ i J.1, ofthestars: 

world, we must also assign the same divmity to the (a) because 
stars, wliich are formed from the most mobile and the l;'"'^ ^'■® 
purest part of the aether, and are not compounded of ae- her.tha 
any other clement besides ; they are of a fiery heat i','}^^.'^® °' 
and translucent throughout. Hence they too have 
the fuUest right to be pronounced to be Uving beings 

tO endowed with sensation and intelhgence. That the 
stars consist entirely of fire Cleanthes holds to be 
estabhshed by the evidence of two of the senses, 
those of touch and sight. For the radiance of the sun 
is more briUiant than that of any fire, inasmuch as it 
casts its Hght so far and wide over the boundless uni- 
verse ; and the contact of its rays is so powerful that 
it not merely warms but often actually burns, neither 
of which things could it do if it were not made of fire. 
' Therefore,' Cleanthes proceeds, ' since the sun is 
made of fire, and is nourished by the vapours exhaled 
from the ocean because no fire could continue to 
exist without sustenance of some sort, it follows that 
it resembles either that fire which we employ in 
ordinary life or that which is contained in the bodies 

H of Hving creatures. Now our ordinary fire that servcs 
the needs of daily hle is a destructive agency, con- 
suming everything, and also wherever it spreads it 
routs and scatters everything. On the other hand the 
fire of the body is the glow of hfe and health ; it is the 
universal preservative, giving nourishment, fostering 
growth, sustaining, bestowing sensation.* He there- 
fore maintains that there can be no doubt which of 
the two kinds of fire the sun resembles, for the sun 



et in suo quaeque genere pubescant. Quare cum 
solis ignis similis eorum ignium sit qui sunt in 
corporibus animantium, solem quoque animantem 
esse oportet, et quidem reliqua astra quae orian- 
tur in ardore caelesti qui aether vel caelum nomi- 

42 natur. Cum igitur aliorum animantium ortus in 
terra sit, aliorum in aqua, in aere aliorum, absurdum 
esse Aristoteli videtur in ea parte quae sit ad gi- 
gnenda animantia aptissima animal gigni nullum pu- 
tare. Sidera autem aetherium locum obtinent, qui 
quoniam tenuissimus est et semper agitatur et viget, 
necesse est quod animal in eo gignatur id et sensu 
acerrimo et mobiUtate celerrima esse ; quare cum in 
aethere astra gignantur, consentaneum est in iis 
sensum inesse et intellegentiam. Ex quo efhcitur in 
deorum numero astra esse ducenda. XVI. Etenim 
licet videre acutiora ingenia et ad intellegendum 
aptiora eorum qui terras incolant eas in quibus aer sit 
purus ac tenuis, quam illorum qui utantur crasso caelo 

43 atque concreto ; quin etiam cibo quo utare interesse 
ahquid ad mentis aciem putant ; probabile est igitur 
praestantem intellegentiam in sideribus esse, quae et 
aetheriam partera mundi incolant et marinis terrenis- 
que umoribus longo intervallo extenuatis alantur. 
Sensum autem astrorum atque intellegentiam maxu- 
me declarat ordo eorum atque constantia ; nihil est 
enim quod ratione et numero moveri possit sine con- 
silio, in quo nihil est temerarium nihil varium nihil 

" Doubtless in the lost Be Philosophiat see i. 32 n, 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xv.— xvi. 

also causes all things to floiirish and to bring forth 
increase each after its kind. Hence since the sun 
resembles those fires which are contained in the bodies 
of li^ing creatures, the sun also must be aUve ; and 
so too the other heavenly bodies, since they have 
their origin in the fiery heat of heaven that is entitled 

2 the aether or sky. Since therefore some Uving ^f^^ becanse 
creatures are born on the earth, others in the water the inhabit- 
and others in the air, it is absurd, so Aristotle ° holds, aether 
to suppose that no Uving animal is born in that probabiy 
element which is most adapted for the generation Lenest 
of Uving tliings. But the stars occupy the region of ^"'^®^®''*^» 
aether, and as this has a very rarefied substance and 
is always in Uvely motion, it foUows that the animal 
born in this region has the keenest senses and the 
swiftest power of movement ; hence since the stars 
come into existence in the aether, it is reasonable to 
suppose that they possess sensation and inteUigence. 
And from this it foUows that the stars are to be 
reckoned as gods. XVI. For it may be observed that 
the inhabitants of those countries in which the air is 
pure and rarefied have keener wits and greater powers 
of understanding than persons who Uve in a dense and 

t3 heavy cUmate ; moreover the substance employed as 
food is also beUeved to have some influence on raental 
acuteness ; it is therefore Ukely that the stars possess 
surpassing inteUigence,since they inhabit the ethereal 
region of the world and also are nourished by the 
moist vapours of sea and earth, rarefied in their inteiif^^nce 
passage through the wide intervening space. Again, pf the suis 
the consciousness and inteUigence of the stars is most by their 
clearly e^-inced by their order and regularity ; for nJot^Q®^ 
regular and rhythmical motion is impossible without which/sdue 
design, which contains no trace of casual or acci- freewTiL° "* 



fortuitum ; ordo autem siderum et in omni aeterni- 
tate constantia neque naturam significat (est enim 
plena rationis) neque fortunam quae amica varietati 
constantiam respuit ; sequitur ergo ut ipsa sua 

44 sponte suo sensu ac divinitate moveantur. Nec vero 
Aristoteles non laudandus est in eo quod omnia quae 
moventur aut natura moveri censuit aut vi aut volun- 
tate ; moveri autem solem et lunam et sidera omnia ; 
quae autem natura moverentur haec aut pondere 
deorsum aut levitate in sublime ferri, quorum neu- 
trum astris contingeret. propterea quod eorum motus 
in orbem circumque ferretur ; nec vero dici potest 
vi quadam maiore fieri ut contra naturam astra 
moveantur ; quae enim potest maior esse ? restat 
igitur ut motus astrorum sit voluntarius. 

" Quae qui videat non indocte solum verum etiam 
impie faciat si deos esse neget. Nec sane multum 
interest utrum id neget an eos omni procuratione 
atque actione privet : milii enim qui nihil agit 
esse omnino non videtur. Esse igitur deos ita per- 
spicuum est ut id qui neget vix eum sanae mentis 

45 X\^II. " Restat ut quahs eorum natura sit con- 
sideremus ; in quo nihil est difficihus quam a con- 
suetudine oculorum aciem mentis abducere. Ea diffi- 
cultas induxit et vulgo inperitos et similes philosophos 

" 1'robably as in § 42. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xvi.— xvii. 

dental variation ; now the order and eternal regu- 
larity of the constellations indicates ncither a process 
of nature, for it is highly rational, nor chance, for 
chance loves variation and abhors regularity ; it 
follows therefore that the stars move of their own 
free-will and because of their inteUigence and 

14 divinity. Aristotle is also to be commended for 
his view° that the motion of all hving bodies is 
due to one of three causes, nature, force, or will ; 
now the sun and moon and all the stars are 
in motion, and bodies moved by nature travel 
either downwards owing to their weight or upwards 
owing to their hghtness ; but neither (he argued) 
is the case with the heavenly bodies, because their 
motion is revolution in a circle ; nor yet can it 
be said that some stronger force compels the 
heavenly bodies to travel in a manner contrary to 
their nature, for what stronger force can there be ? 
it remains therefore that the motion of the heavenly 
bodies is voluntary. 

" Anyone who sees this truth would show not only 
ignorance but wickedness if he denied the existence 
of the gods. Nor indeed does it make much difference 
whether he denies their existence or deprives them 
entirely of providential care and of activity ; since 
to my mind an entirely inactive being cannot be 
said to exist at all. Therefore the existence of the 
gods is 80 manifest that I can scarcely deem one who 
denies it to be of sound mind. 

15 XVn. " It remains for us to consider the quahties ri. The 
of the divine nature ; and on this subject nothing is xaI"Jl-e 
more difficult than to divert the eye of the mind from (§5 45-72). 
following the practice of bodily sight. This difficulty 

has caused both uneducated people generally and 



inperitorum ut nisi figuris hominum constitutis nihil 
possent de dis inmortalibus cogitare ; cuius opinionis 
levitas confutata a Cotta non desiderat orationem 
meam. Sed cum talem esse deum certa notione 
animi praesentiamus, primum ut sit animans, deinde 
ut in omni natura nihil eo sit praestantius, ad hanc 
praesensionem notionemque nostram nihil video quod 
potius accommodem quam ut primum hunc ipsum 
mundum quo nihil excellentius fieri potest animantem 

46 esse et deum iudicem. His quam volet Epicurus 
iocetur, homo non aptissimus ad iocandum mim'me- 
que resipiens^ patriam, et dicat se non posse 
intellegere quaUs sit volubiUs et rotundus deus, 
tamen ex hoc quod etiam ipse probat numquam me 
movebit : placet enim illi esse deos, quia necesse sit 
praestantem esse aUquam naturam qua nihil sit 
meUus. Mundo autem certe nihil est meUus. Nec 
dubium quin quod animans sit habeatque sensum et 
rationem et mentem id sit meUus quam id quod 

47 his careat. Ita efficitur animantem, sensus mentis 
rationis mundum esse compotem ; qua ratione deum 
esse mundum concluditur. 

" Sed haec paulo post faciUus cognoscentur ex 
iis rebus ipsis quas mundus efficit. XVIII. Interea, 
VeUei, noU quaeso prae te ferre vos plane expertes 
esse doctrinae. Conum tibi ais et cyUndrum et 

* resipiens dett. : respiciens A^ B, 


DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xvii.— xviii. 

those philosophers who resemble the uneducated to (i) Tiie 
be unable to conceive of the immortal gods without is^s'pher?ca?, 
setting before themselves the forms of men : aj^isseenin 
shallow mode of thought which Cotta has exposed which is 
and which therefore calls for no discussion from me. ^ivme. 
But assuming that we have a definite and precon- 
ceived idea of a deity as, first, a Hving being, and 
secondly, a being unsurpassed in excellence by any- 
thing else in the whole of nature, I can see nothing 
that satisfies this preconception or idea of ours more 
fully than, first, the judgement that this world, which 
must necessarily be the most excellent of all things, 

6 is itself a Hving being and a god. Let Epicurus jest 
at this notion as he will — and he is a person who jokes 
with difficulty, and has but the slightest smack of his 
native Attic wit, — let him protest his inabiUty to con- 
ceive of god as a round and rotating body. Never- 
theless he will never dislodge me from one beUef 
which even he himself accepts : he holds that gods 
exist, on the ground that there must necessarily be 
some mode of being of outstanding and supreme 
excellence ; now clearly nothing can be more ex- 
cellent than the world. Nor can it be doubted that a 
living being endowed with sensation, reason and in- 
telhgence must excel a being devoid of those attri- 

7 butes ; hence it foilows that the worki is a Hving 
being and possesses sensation, inteUigence and 
reason ; and this argument leads to the conclusion 
that the world is god. 

" But these points wiU appear more readily a Httle 
later merely from a consideration of the creatures that 
the world produces. XVIII. In the meantime, pray, 
VeUeius, do not parade your schoors utter ignorance 
of science. You say that you think a cone, a cyUnder 



pyramidem pulchriorem quam sphaeram videri. 
Novum etiam oculorum iudicium habetis ! Sed 
sint ista pulchriora dumtaxat aspectu, — quod mihi 
tamen ipsum non videtur, quid enim pulchrius ea 
figura quae sola omnis aUas figuras complexa continet, 
quaeque nihil asperitatis habere nihil offensionis 
potest, nihil incisum anguHs nihil anfractibus nihil 
eminens nihil lacunosum ? cumque duae formae 
praestantes sint, ex sohdis globus (sic enim o-^atpav 
interpretari placet), ex planis autem circulus aut 
orbis, qui kvkXos Graece dicitur, his duabus formis 
contingit solis ut omnes earum partes sint inter se 
simillumae a medioque tantundem^ absit <omne>* 

48 extremum, quo nihil fieri potest aptius — sed si haec 
non videtis, quia numquam eruditum illum pulverem 
attigistis, ne hoc quidem physici intellegere potuistis, 
hanc aequabiUtatem motus constantiamque ordi- 
num in aha figura non potuisse servari ? Itaque 
nihil potest esse indoctius quam quod a vobis ad- 
firmari solet : nec enim hunc ipsum mundum pro 
certo rotundum esse dicitis, nam posse fieri ut sit 
aha figura, innumerabilesque mundos ahos aharum 

49 esse formarum. Quae si bis bina quot essent didi- 
cisset Epicurus certe non diceret ; sed dum palato 
quid sit optimum iudicat, ' caeH palatum,' ut ait 
Ennius, non suspexit, 

XIX. " Nam cum duo sint genera siderum, quorum 

* tantundem Madvig : tantum. ^ add. Brieger. 

" Ancient geometricians drew their diagrams in dust 
sprinkled on a board, or on the ground. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xviii.— xix. 

and a pyramid more beautiful than a sphere. Why, 
even in matters of taste you Epicureans have a 
criterion of your o^ati ! However, assuming that the 
figures which you mention are more beautiful to the 
eye — though for my part I don't think them so, for 
what can be more beautiful than the figure that en- 
circles and encloses in itself all other figures, and that 
can possess no rougliness or point of colhsion on its 
surface, no indentation or concavity, no protuberance 
or depression ? There are two forms that excel 
all others, among sohd bodies the globe (for so we 
may translate the Greek sphaera), and among plane 
figures the round or circle, the Greek kyklos ; well 
then, these two forms alone possess the property of 
absolute uniformity in all their parts and of having 
every point on the circumference equidistant from 
the centre ; and nothing can be more compact than 

48 that. Still, if you Epicureans cannot see this, as you 
have never meddled with that learned dust,^ could 
you not have grasped even so much of natural philo- 
sophy as to understand that the uniform motion and 
regular disposition of the heavenly bodies could not 
have been maintained with any other shape ? Hence 
nothing could be more unscientific than your favourite 
assertion, that it is not certain that our world itself is 
round, since it may possibly have some other form, 
and there are countless numbers of workls, all of 

49 different shapes. Had but Epicurus learnt that twice 
two are four he certainly would not talk hke that ; 
but while making his palate the test of the chief good, 
he forgets to hft up his eyes to what Ennius calls 
* the palate of the sky.' 

XIX. " For there are two kinds of heavenly 



alterum spatiis inmutabilibus ab ortu ad occasum 
commeans nullum umquam cursus sui vestigium in- 
flectat, alterum autem continuas conversiones duas 
isdem spatiis cursibusque conficiat, ex utraque re 
et mundi volubilitas, quae nisi in globosa forma 
esse non posset, et stellarum rotundi ambitus co- 

" Primusque sol, qui astrorum tenetprincipatum,ita 
movetur ut cum terras larga luce compleverit eas- 
dem modo his modo illis ex partibus opacet ; ipsa 
enim umbra terrae soli officiens noctem efficit. Noc- 
turnorum autem spatiorum eadem est aequabilitas 
quae diurnorum. Eiusdemque solis tum accessus mo- 
dici tum recessus et frigoris et caloris modum tem^ 
perant. Circumitus enim solis orbium quinque et 
sexaginta et trecentorum quarta fere diei parte 
addita conversionem conficiunt annuam ; inflectens 
autem sol cursum tum ad septem triones tum ad 
meridiem aestates et hiemes efficit et ea duo 
tempora quorum alterum hiemi senescenti adiunctum 
est alterum aestati. Ita ex quattuor temporum 
mutationibus omnium quae terra marique gignuntur 
initia causaeque ducuntur. 
50 "lam sohs annuos cursus spatiis menstruis luna 
consequitur, cuius tenuissimum lumen facit proxi- 
mus accessus ad solem, digressus autem longissimus 
quisque plenissimum. Neque solum eius species ac 
forma mutatur tum crescendo tum defectibus in 
initia recurrendo, sed etiam regio, quae tum est 

" The fixed stars are carried round the polar axis by the 
general celestial movement, while the planets have two 
simultaneoiis motions, (1) that of the fixed stars, (2) a move- 
ment of their own, by which they revolve (as was supposed) 
round the earth. 


bodies,'* some that travel from east to west in un- (2) The 
changing paths, without ever making the shiihtest actiSiV is 
deviation in their course, while the others perform rotatory 

. ' . ^ motion, as 

two unbroken revohitions m the same paths and shown m 
courses. Now both of these facts indicate at once the bJ|d?e?J "^^ 
rotatory motion of the firmament, which Is only 
possible A\-ith a spherical shape, and the circular 
revolutions of the heavenly bodies. 

" Take first of all the sun, which is the chief of the the sun, 
celestial bodies. Its motion is such that it first fills 
the countries of the earth with a flood of hght, and 
then leaves them in darkness now on one side and 
now on the other ; for night is caused merely by the 
shadow of the earth, which intercepts the hght of 
the sun. Its daily and nightly paths have the same 
regukirity. Also the sun by at one time shghtly 
approaching and at another time shghtly receding 
causes a moderate variation of temperature. For 
the passage of about 365^ diurnal revolutions of the 
sun completes the circuit of a year ; and by bending 
its course now towards the north and now towards 
the south the sun causes summers and winters and 
the two seasons of which one follows the waning of 
^\-inter and the other that of summer. Thus from the 
changes of the four seasons are derived the origins 
and causes of all those creatures which come into 
existence on land and in the sea. 
50 " Again the moon in her monthly paths overtakes themoon, 
the yearly course of the sun ; and her hght wanes to 
its minimum when she approaches nearest to the sun, 
and w^axes to its maximum each time that she recedes 
farthest from him. And not only is her shape and 
outhne altered by her alternate waxing and waning 
or returning to her starting-point, but also her posi- 



aquilonia tum^ australis. In^ lunae quoque cursu 
est et brumae quaedam et solstitii similitudo, 
multaque ab ea manant et fluunt quibus et animantes 
alantur augescantque et pubescant maturitatemque 
adsequantur quae oriuntur e terra. 

51 XX. " Maxume vero sunt admirabiles motus earum 
quinque stellarum quae falso vocantur errantes — nihil 
enim errat quod in omni aeternitate conservat pro- 
gressus et regressus reliquosque motus constantis et 
ratos. Quod eo est admirabilius in his stelHs quas 
dicimusj quia tum occultantur tum rursus aperiuntur, 
tum adeunt tum recedunt, tum antecedunt tum 
autem subsequuntur, tum celerius moventur tum 
tardius tum omnino ne moventur quidem sed ad 
quoddam tempus insistunt. Quarum ex disparibus 
motionibus magnum annum mathematici nomina- 
verunt, qui tum efRcitur cum sohs et lunae et 
quinque errantium ad eandem inter se compara- 
tionem confectis omnium spatiis est facta conversio. 

62 Quae quam longa sit magna quaestio est, esse vero 
certam et definitam necesse est. Nam ea quae 
Saturni stella dicitur <i>ttuojvque a Graecis nominatur, 
quae a terra abest plurimum, triginta fere annis 
cursum suum conficit, in quo cursu multa mirabiUter 
efficiens tum antecedendo tum retardando, tum 
vespertinis temporibus dehtiscendo tum matutinis 
rursum se aperiendo, nihil inmutat sempiternis 

^ tum det. : aut A^ B. 
" <inde> vel <nam> vel <ita> in edd. 

<* Perhaps from Aristotle's lost De Philosophia, see i. 33 n. 
The Cosmic Year is attributed to the Pythagoreans and to 
Heraclitus: Plato, Timaeus 39, gives it as 10,000 years. 

* Herschel's figures, given by Mayor,are (omitting hours)» 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xix.— xx. 

tion in the sky, which at one time is in the north and 
another in the south. The moon's course also has a 
sort of winter and summer solstice ; and she emits 
many streams of influence, which supply animal 
creatures with nourishment and stimulate their 
growth and which cause plants to flourish and attain 

61 XX. " Most marvellous are the motions of the five thepjineta 
stars, falsely called planets or wandering stars — for a 

tliing cannot be said to wander if it preserves for all 
eternity fixed and regular motions, forward, back- 
ward and in other directions. And this regularity is 
all the more marvellous in the case of the stars we 
speak of, because at one time they are hidden and at 
another they are uncovered again ; now they ap- 
proach, now retire ; now precede, now follow ; now 
move faster, now slower, now do not move at all but 
remain for a time stationary. On the diverse motions 
of the planets the mathematicians have based what 
they call the Great Year," which is completed when 
the sun, moon and five planets having all finished 
their courses have returned to the same positions 

62 relative to one another. The length of this period 
is hotly debated, but it must necessarily be a fixed 
and definite time.^ For the planet called Saturn's, the 
Greek name of which is Phae?io?i (the shiner), which is 
the farthest away from the earth, completes its orbit 
in about thirty years, in the course of which period it 
passes through a number of remarkable phases, at one 
time accelerating and at another time retarding its 
velocity, now disappearing in the evening, then re- 
appearing in the morning, yet without varying in the 

Saturn 29 years 174 days, Jupiter 11 years 315 days, Mars 
1 year 321 days, Venus 224 days, Mercury 87 days. 



saeclorum aetatibus quin eadem isdem temporibus 
efficiat. Infra autem hanc propius a terra lovis 
stella fertur quae ^akOuiv dicitur, eaque eundem 
duodecim signorum orbem annis duodecim conficit 
easdemque quas Saturni stella efficit in cursu varie- 

63 tates. Huic autem proximum inferiorem orbem 
tenet Ilvpoets, quae stella Martis appellatur, eaque 
quattuor et viginti mensibus sex ut opinor diebus 
minus eundem lustrat orbem quem duae superiores. 
Infra hanc autem stella Mercurii est (ea SrtA/^wv 
appellatur a Graecis), quae anno fere vertente 
signiferum lustrat orbem neque a sole longius um- 
quam unius signi intervallo discedit tum antevertens 
tum subsequens. Infima est quinque errantium 
terraeque proxima stella Veneris, quae ^(orr<j>6pos 
Graece Lucifer Latine dicitur cum antegreditur 
solem, cum subsequitur autem "Ea-Trepos ; ea cursum 
anno conficit et latitudinem lustrans signiferi 
orbis et longitudinem, quod idem faciunt stellae su- 
periores, neque umquam ab sole duorum signorum 
intervallo longius discedit tum antecedens tum sub- 

64 XXI. " Hanc igitur in stelHs constantiam, hanc 
tantam tam variis cursibus in omni aeternitate con- 
venientiam temporum non possum intellegere sine 
mente ratione consiHo. Quae cum in sideribus in- 
esse videamus, non possumus ca ipsa non in deorum 
numero reponere. 

" Nec vero eae stellae quae inerrantes vocantur 
non significant eandem mentem atque prudentiam, 


DE NATURA DEORUM, 11. xx.— xxi. 

least degree throughout all the ages of eternity, but 
ahvays doing the same things at the same times. 
Below this and nearer to the earth moves the star 
of Jupiter, called Phaethon (the blazing star), which 
completes the same circuit of the twelve signs of the 
zodiac in twelve years, and makes the same varia- 

»3 tions during its course as the star of Saturn. The 
orbit next below is that of Pi/roeis (the fiery), which 
is called the star of Mars, and this covers the same 
orbit as the two planets above it in twenty-four 
months all but (I think) six days. Below this in turn 
is the star of ^lercury, called by the Greeks Siilhon 
(the gleaming), which completes the circuit of the 
zodiac in about the period of a year, and is never 
distant from the sun more than the space of a single 
sign, though it sometimes precedes the sun and 
sometimes follows it. Lowest of the five planets and 
nearest to the earth is the star of Venus, called in 
Greek Phosphoros (the hght-bringer) and in Latin 
Lucifer when it precedes the sun, but when it 
follows it Hesperos ; this planet completes its orbit 
in a year, traversing the zodiac \Y\\h. a zigzag move- 
ment as do the planets above it, and never distant 
more than the space of two signs from the sun, though 
sometimes in front of it and sometimes behind it. 

54 XXL " This regularity therefore in the stars, this 
exact punctuahty throughout all eternity notwith- 
standing the great variety of their courses, is to me 
incomprehensible without rational intelhgence and 
purpose. And if mc observe these attributes in the 
planets, we cannot fail to enrol even them among 
the number of the gods. 

" Moreover the so-called fixed stars also indicate and the 
the same intelligence and wisdom. Their revolutions '^^®^ ^^^ 



quarum est cotidiana conveniens constansque con- 
versio nec habent aetherios cursus neque caelo 
inhaerentes, ut plerique dicunt physicae rationis 
ignari ; non est enim aetheris ea natura ut vi sua 
stellas conplexa contorqueat, nam tenuis ac perlucens 
et aequabiU calore sufFusus aether non satis aptus 

55 ad stellas continendas videtur ; habent igitur suam 
sphaeram stellae inerrantes ab aetheria coniunctione 
secretam et Uberam. Earum autem perennes cursus 
atque perpetui cum admirabiU incredibiUque constan- 
tia declarant in his \im et mentem esse divinam, ut 
haec ipsa qui non sentiat deorum vim habere is nihil 
omnino sensurus esse \ideatur. 

66 " Nulla igitur in caelo nec fortuna nec temeritas 
nec erratio nec vanitas inest contraque omnis ordo 
veritas ratio constantia ; quaeque his vacant emen- 
tita et falsa plenaque erroris, ea circum terras infra 
lunam (quae omnium ultima est) in terrisque ver- 
santur. Caelestium^ ergo admirabilem ordinem in- 
credibilemque constantiam, ex qua conservatio et 
salus omnium omnis oritur, qui vacare mente putat is 
ipse mentis expers habendus est. 

57 " Haud ergo, ut opinor, erravero si a principe 
investigandae veritatis huius disputationis principium 
duxero. XXII. Zeno igitur naturam ita definit 
ut eam dicat ignem esse artificiosum, ad gignendum 

* caelestium dett. : caelestem A^ B. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xxi.— xxii. 

recur daily with exact rcgularity. It is not the case 
that they are carried along by the aether or that their 
courses are fixed in the tirmament, as most people 
ignorant of natural philosophy aver ; for the aether 
is not of such a nature as to hold the stars and cause 
them to revolve by its own force, since being rare and 
translucent and of uniform diffused heat, the aether 
does not appear to be well adapted to contain the 

55 stars. Therefore the fixed stars have a sphere of 
their o\vn, separate from and not attached to the 
aether. Now the continual and unceasing revolutions 
of these stars, marvellously and incredibly regular as 
they are, clearly show that these are endowed with 
divine power and intelhgence ; so that anyone who 
cannot perceive that they themselves possess divinity 
would seem to be incapable of understanding any- 
thing at all. 

56 " In the heavens therefore there is nothing of 
chance or hazard, no error, no frustration, but 
absolute order, accuracy, calculation and regularity. 
Whatever lacks these quahties, whatever is false and 
spurious and full of error, belongs to the region be- 
tween the earth and the moon (the last of all the 
heavenly bodies), and to the surface of the earth. 
Anyone therefore who thinks that the marvellous 
order and incredible regularity of the heavenly 
bodies, which is the sole source of preservation and 
safety for all things, is not rational, himself cannot 
be deemed a rational being. 

67 " I therefore beheve that I shall not be wrong if ^pJ^^ 
in discussing this subject I take my first principle nature 
from the prince of seekers after truth, Zeno himsclf. ftsTreative 
XXII. Now Zeno gives this definition of nature : artistic and 
* nature (he says) is a craftsmanhke fire, proceediiv^: JfJti^vity? ^^ 



progredientem via. Censet enim artis maxume 
proprium esse creare et gignere, quodque in operibus 
nostrarum artium manus efficiat id multo artificiosius 
naturam efficere, id est ut dixi ignem artificiosum, 
magistrum artium reliquarum. Atque hac quidem 
ratione omnis natura artificiosa est, quod habet quasi 

68 \iam quandam et sectam quam sequatur ; ipsius 
vero mundi, qui omnia conplexu suo coercet et con- 
tinet, natura non artificiosa solum sed plane artifex 
ab eodem Zenone dicitur, consultrix et provida 
utihtatum opportunitatumque omnium. Atque ut 
ceterae naturae suis seminibus quaeque gignuntur 
augescunt continentur, sic natura mundi omnes 
motus habet voluntarios conatusque et adpetitiones 
quas opfxds Graeci vocant, et his consentaneas 
actiones sic adhibet ut nosmet ipsi qui animis move- 
mur et sensibus. Tahs igitur mens mundi cum sit 
ob eamque causam vel prudentia vel providentia 
appellari recte possit (Graece enim rrpovoLa dicitur), 
haec potissimum providet et in his maxime est 
occupata, primum ut mundus quam aptissimus sit 
ad permanendum, deinde ut nulla re egeat, maxume 
autem ut in eo eximia pulchritudo sit atque omnis 

69 XXIII. " Dictum est de universo mundo, dictum 
etiam est de sideribus, ut iam prope modum appareat 
multitudo nec cessantium deorum nec ea quae agant 
molientium cum labore operoso ac molesto. . Non 

** Diogenes Laertius vii. 156 Trup TexviKou 65(^ ^&bL^oi' els 

* Aristotle, Phys. ii. 2 rj t^x^V /J-tfJ-e^^raL ttjv tpiaiv, 
" Diogenes L. vii. 86 Tex^iT-q^ 6 \6yos r^s 6p/ji.r]s, 


DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xxii.— xxiii. 

methodically to the work of generation.' ** For he 
holds that the special function of an art or craft is to 
create and generate, and that what in the processes 
of our arts is done by the Iiand is done with far more 
skilful craftsmanship by nature,^ that is, as I said, by 
that ' craftsmanhke ' fire which is the teacher of the 
other arts. And on this theory, while each depart- 
ment of nature is ' craftsmanhke,' in the sense of 
having a method or path marked out for it to follow, 

68 the nature of the world itself, which encloses and 
contains all things in its embrace, is styled by Zeno 
not merely ' craftsmanhke ' but actually ' a crafts- 
man,'^ whose foresight plans out the work to serve its 
use and purpose in every detail. And as the other 
natural substances are generated, reared and sus- 
tained each by Its o\mi seeds, so the world-nature 
experiences all those motions of the will, those im- 
pulses of conation and desire, that the Greeks call 
hormae, and follows these up vrith. the appropriate 
actions in the same way as do we ourselves, who 
experience emotions and sensations. Such being the 
nature of the world-mind, it can therefore correctly 
be designated as prudence or providence (for in 
Greek it is termed pronoid) ; and this providence is 
chiefly directed and concentrated upon three objects, 
namely to secure for the world, first, the structure 
best fitted for survival ; next, absolute completeness ; 
but chiefly, consummate beauty and embeUishment 
of every kind. 

69 XXlil. " We have discussed the world as a whole, 
and we have also discussed the heavenly bodies ; so 
that there now stands fairly well revealed to our view 
a vast company of gods who are neither idle nor yet 
perform their activities with irksome and laborious 



enim venis et ner\ds et ossibus continentiir nec iis 
escis aut potionibus vescuntur ut aut nimis acres aut 
nimis concretos umores colligant, nec iis corporibus 
sunt ut casus aut ictus extimescant aut morbos 
metuant ex defetigatione membrorum, quae verens 
Epicurus monogrammos deos et nihil agentes com- 

60 mentus est. Illi autem pulcherrima forma praediti 
purissimaque in regione caeli collccati ita feruntur 
moderanturque cursus ut ad omnia conservanda et 
tuenda consensisse videantur, 

" Multae autem aliae naturae deorum ex magnis 
beneficiis eorum non sine causa et a Graeciae sapien- 
tissimis et a maioribus nostris constitutae nominatae- 
que sunt. Quicquid enim magnam utihtatem generi 
adferret humano, id non sine di\ina bonitate erga 
homines fieri arbitrabantur. Itaque tum illud quod 
erat a deo natum^ nomine ipsius dei nuncupabant, 
ut cum fruges Cererem appellamus vinum autem 
Liberum, ex quo illud Terentii : 

sine Cerere et Libero friget \'enus, 

61 tum autem res ipsa in qua vis inest maior aliqua 
sic appellatur ut ea ipsa^ nominetur deus, ut Fides, 
ut Mens, quas in Capitoho dedicatas videmus proxime 
a M. Aemiho Scauro, ante autem ab A. Atilio 
Calatino erat Fides consecrata. Vides Virtutis tem- 
plum, vides Honoris a M. Marcello renovatum quod 

^ datum vel donatum Davies. 
^ ipsa B : ipsa vis A, ipsa res dett. 

" A probable correction reads ' given by,' c/. i. 38 and 118. 

** The language seems to indicate that the building was 
visiblc from the exedra of Cotta's mansion, where the dis- 
cussion took place (i. 14). A temple near the Porta Capena 
was dedicated to Ilonos by Fabius Cunctator, and later 
enlarged by Marcellus and dedicated to lionos and Virtus 


toil. For they have no framework of veins and sinews ^ 
and bones ; nor do thoy consume such kinds of food 
and drink as to make them contract too sharp or too 
sluggish a condition of the humours ; nor are tlicir 
bodies such as to make them fear falls or blows or 
apprehcnd diseasc from exhaustion of their members 
— dangcrs which led Epicurus to invent his un-^ub- 

60 stantial, do-nothing gods. On the contrary, they are 
endowed with supreme beauty of form, they are 
situated in the purest region of the sky, and thcy so 
control their motions and courses as to seem to be 
conspiring together to preserve and to protect the 

" Many other divinities however have with good (4) The gods 
reason been recognized and named both by the wisest worsi^i^p are 
men of Greece and by our ancestors from the great tiie divine 
benefits that they bestow. For it was thought that deified, or 
whatever confers great utility on the human race must ^''rtiies and 
be due to the operation of divine benevolence towards personified, 
men. Thus sometimes a thing sprung from^ a god 
was called by the name of the god himself ; as when 
we speak of corn as Ceres, of wine as Liber, so that 
Terence writes : 

when Ceres and when Liber fail, 
Venus is cold. 

61 In other cases some exceptionally potent force is 
itself designated by a title of divinity, for example 
Faith and Mind ; we see the shrines on the Capitol 
lately dedicated to them both by Marcus Aemilius 
Scaurus, and Faith had previously been deified by 
Aulus Atihus Calatinus. You see ^ the temple of 
Mrtue, restored as the temple of Honour b}'^ Marcus 

jointly. Another temple dedicated to these two deities by 
Marius stood on the Capitol. 



multis ante annis erat bello Ligustico a Q. Maximo 
dedicatum. Quid Opis, quid Salutis, quid Concor- 
diae Libertatis Victoriae ? quarum omnium rerum 
quia vis erat tanta ut sine deo regi^ non posset, ipsa 
res deorum nomen obtinuit. Quo ex genere Cupi- 
dinis et Voluptatis et Lubentinae Veneris vocabula 
consecrata sunt, vitiosarum rerum neque naturalium 
(quamquam ^^elleius aliter existimat), sed tamen 
ea ipsa vitia natura^ vehementius saepe pulsant. 

62 Utilitatum igitur magnitudine constituti sunt ei di 
qui utilitates quasque gignebant, atque his quidem 
nominibus quae paulo ante dicta sunt quae vis sit 
in quoque declaratur deo. 

XXIV. " Suscepit autem vita hominum consue- 
tudoque communis ut beneficiis excellentis viros in 
caelum fama ac voluntate tollerent. Hinc Hercules 
hinc Castor et Pollux hinc Aesculapius liinc Liber 
etiam (hunc dico Liberum Semela natum, non eum 
quem nostri maiores auguste sancteque [Liberum]^ 
cum Cerere et Libera consecraverunt, quod quale sit 
ex mysteriis intellegi potest ; sed quod ex nobis natos 
hberos appellamus, idcirco Cerere nati nominati sunt 
Liber et Libera, quod in Libera^ servant, in Libero^ 
non item) — hinc etiam Romulus,® quem quidem 
eundem esse Quirinum putant, quorum cum remane- 
rent animi atque aeternitate fruerentur, rite di sunt 
habiti, cum et optimi essent et aeterni. 

63 " Aha quoque ex ratione et quidem physica magna 
fluxit multitudo deorum qui induti specie humana 

^ intellegi Goethe. 

2 natura ^i, B : naturam B corr. 

• Liberum om. dett. * Libero dett. ^ Libera dett, 

^ Romulus Marsus ; Ptomulum. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, 11. xxiii.— xxiv. 

Marcellus, but founded many years before by Quintus 
Maximus in the time of the Ligurian war. Again, 
there are the temples of Wealth, Safety, Concord, 
Liberty and Victory, all of which things, being so 
powerful as necessarily to imply divine governance, 
were themselves designated as gods. In the same 
class the names of Desire, Pleasure and Venus 
Lubentina have been deified — things vicious and un- 
natural (although Velleius thinks otherwise), yet the 
urge of these vices often overpowers natural instinct. 

)2 Those gods therefore who were the authors of various 
benefits owed their deification to the value of the 
benefits which they bestowed, and indeed the names 
that I just now enumerated express the various 
powers of the gods that bear them. 

XXIV. " Human experience moreover and general or depai-ted 
custom have made it a practice to confer the deifica- beuefactors, 
tion of renown and gratitude upon distinguished 
benefactors. This is the origin of Hercules, of Castor 
and Pollux, of Aesculapius, and also of Liber (I mean 
Liber the son of Semele, not the Liber whom our 
ancestors solemnly and devoutly consecrated with 
Ceres and Libera, the import of which joint consecra- 
tion may be gathered from the mysteries ; but Liber 
and Libera were so named as Ceres' offspring, that 
being the meaning of our Latin word liberi — a use 
which has sur\dved in the case of Libera but not of 
Liber) — and this is also the origin of Romulus, who is 
beheved to be the same as Quirinus. And thcse 
benefactors were duly deemed divine, as being both 
supremely good and immortal, because their souls 
survived and enjoyed eternal hfe. 

33 " Another theory also, and that a scientific one, 
has becn the source of a number of deities, who clad 



fabulas poetis suppeditaverunt, hominum autem 

vitam superstitione omni referserunt. Atque hic 

locus a Zenone tractatus post a Cleanthe et Chrysippo 

pluribus verbis explicatus est. Nam cum^ vetus haec 

opinio Graeciam opplevisset,^ exsectum Caelum a 

fiho Saturno, vinctum autem Saturnum ipsum a 

64 filio love, physica ratio non inelegans inclusa est in 

impias fabulas. Caelcstem enim altissimam aetheriam- 

que naturam, id est igneam, quae per sese omnia 

gigneret, vacare voluerunt ea parte corporis quae 

coniunctione alterius egeret ad procreandum. XXV. 

Saturnum autem eum esse voluerunt qui cursum et 

conversionem spatiorum ac temporum contineret ; 

qui deus Graece id ipsum nomen habet : Kpovos enim 

dicitur, qui est idem x/^oi^os, id est spatium temporis. 

Saturnus autem est appellatus quod saturaretur 

annis ; ex se enim natos comesse fmgitur sohtus, quia 

consumit aetas temporum spatia annisque praeteritis 

insaturabihter expletur ; vinctus autem a love ne 

inmoderatos cursus haberet atque ut eum siderum 

vinchs alhgaret. Sed ipse luppiter — id est iuvans 

pater, quem conversis casibus appellamus a iuvando 

lovem, a poetis ' pater divomque hominumque * 

dicitur, a maioribus autem nostris optumus maxumus, 

et quidem ante optumus, id est beneficentissimus, 

quam maxumus quia maius est certeque gratius 

prodesse omnibus quam opes magnas habere 

^ cum A corr. : om. cett. 
* opplevisset J, B : op])levil dct., opplevit esse Heindorf. 

" i.e.t Uraiius. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xxiv.— xxv. 

in human form have furnished the poets with legends or pereoni- 
and have filled man's hfe with superstitions of all Jf naturr 
sorts. This subject was handled by Zeno and was C^^is . 
later explained more fully by Cleanthes and Chrys- mosrof the 
ippus. For example, an ancient belief prevailed ""'^''iiofjH!^ 
throughout Greece that Caelus ^ was mutilated by his 
son Saturn, and Saturn himself thrown into bondage 
64 by his son Jove : now these immoral fables enshrined 
a decidedly clever scientific theory. Their meaning 
was that the highest element of celestial ether or fire, 
which by itself generates all tliings, is devoid of that 
bodily part which requires union with another for the 
work of procreation. XXV. By Saturn again they 
denoted that being who maintains the course and 
revolution of seasons and periods of time, the deity 
actually so designated in Greek, for Saturns Greek 
name is Kronos, which is the same as chro^ios, a space 
of time. The Latin designation ' Saturn ' on the 
other hand is due to the fact that he is * saturated ' 
or * satiated with years ' (afi?ci) ; the fable is that he 
was in the habit of devouring his sons — meaning that 
Time devours the ages and gorges himself insatiably 
with the years that are past. Saturn was bound by 
Jove in order that Time's courses might not be un- 
limited, and that Jove might fetter him by the bonds 
of the stars. But Jupiter himself — the name means 
' the helping father,' whom with a change of inflexion 
we style Jove, from iuvare ' to help ' ; the poets call 
him ' father of gods and men,' and our ancestors en- 
titled him ' best and greatest,' putting the title ' best,' 
that is most beneficent, before that of ' greatest,' 
because universal beneficence is greater, or at least 
more k)vable, than the possession of great wealth — 



66 — hunc igitur Ennius ut supra dixi nuncupat ita 
dicens : 

aspice hoc sublime candens quem invocant omnes lovem, 
planius quam aho loco idem : 

cui^ quod in me est exsecrabor hoc quod lucet quicquid est ; 
hunc etiam augures nostri, cum dicunt ' love fulgente, 
tonante ' : dicunt enim ' caelo fulgente et^ tonante.' 
Euripides autem ut multa praeclare sic hoc breviter : 

vides sublime fusum inmoderatum aethera, 
qui terram tenero circumiectu amplectitur : 
hunc summum habeto divum, hunc perhibeto lovem. 

66 XXVI. " Aer autem, ut Stoici disputant, interiec- 
tus inter mare et caelum lunonis nomine consecratur, 
quae est soror et coniunx lovis, quod ei^ simihtudo 
est aetheris et cum eo summa coniunctio ; effemi- 
narunt autem eum lunonique tribuerunt quod nihil 
est eo molHus. (Sed lunonem a iuvando credo 
nominatam.) Aqua restabat et terra, ut essent ex 
fabuHs tria regna divisa. Datum est igitur Neptuno 
alterum,* lovis ut volunt^ fratri, maritimum omne 
regnum, nomenque productum ut Portunus a portu 
sic Neptunus a nando paulum primis htteris im- 
mutatis. Terrena autem vis omnis atque natura 
Diti patri dedicata est (qui Dives, ut apud Graecos 
HXovTOJu), quia et recidunt omnia in terras et oriuntur 

^ qui deft. * et om. dett. 

' ei Prohus : et mss..^ ei et lleindorf. 

* alteri A corr. ^ volumus pr. A, pr. B. 

" §4. " 

* Euripides fr. 386 : 

opas Tov v^pov T6pd' &7r€ipov aWipa 

Kal yrjv iripL^ ^x^ovd' vypacs iv d^/cdXai»' 

TOvTov v6fu^€ Zrjvat t6v8' rjyov de^v. 

* Hera. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xxv.— xxvi. 

B5 it is he then who is addressed by Ennius in tlie follow- 
ing terms, as I said before " : 

Behold this dazzling vault of heaven, which all mankind 
as Jove invoke — 

more explicitly than in another passage of the same 
poet : 

Now by whatever pow'r it be that sheds 
This Hght of day, rll lay my curse upon him ! 

It is he also whom our augm-s mean by their formula 

* should Jove hghten and thunder,' meaning * should 
the sky hghten and thunder.' Euripides among many 
fine passages has this brief invocation : 

Thou seest the boundless aether's spreading vault, 
Whose soft embrace encompasseth the earth : 
This deem thou god of gods, the supreme Jove.^ 

56 XXVI. " The air, lying between the sea and sky, is 
according to the Stoic theory deified under the name 
belonging to Juno,<' sister and wife of Jove, because 
it resembles and is closely connected A\1th the 
aether ; they made it female and assigned it to Juno 
because of its extreme softness. (The name of Juno 
however I believe to be derived from iuvare ' to help '). 
There remained water and earth, to complete the 
fabled partition of the three kingdoms. Accordingly 
the second kingdom, the entire realm of the sea, was 
assigned to Neptune, Jove's brother as they hold ; 
his name is derived from Jiare ' to swim,' ^vith a shght 
alteration of the earher letters and wdth the suffix 
seen in Portunus (the harbour god), derived from 
portus * a harbour.' The entire bulk and substance of 
the earth was dedicated to father Dis (that is, Dives, 

* the rich,' and so in Greek Plouto/i), because all things 
fall back into the earth and also arise from the earth. 



e terris. Cui nuptam dicunt^ Proserpinam (quod 
Graecorum nomen est, ea enim est quae Hepcrcipnvr] 
Graece nominatur) — quam frugum semen esse 
volunt absconditamque quaeri a matre fingunt. 

67 Materautem est a gerendis frugibus Ceres (tamquam 
Geres, casuque prima littera itidem immutata 
ut a Graecis ; nam ab illis quoque A^ya^Tr^p quasi 
yrj fi-jrqp nominata est). lam qui magna verteret 
Mavors, Minerva autem quae vel minueret vel 
minaretur. XXVII. Cumque in omnibus rebus vim 
haberent maxumam prima et extrema, principem 
in sacrificando lanum esse voluerunt, quod ab eundo 
nomen est ductum, ex quo transitiones perviae 
iani foresque in liminibus profanarum aedium ianuae 
nominantur. lam^ Vestae nomen a Graecis ; ea 
est enim quae ab illis 'Ea-rla dicitur ; vis autem 
eius ad aras et focos pertinet, itaque in ea dea, 
quod est rerum custos intumarum, omnis et precatio 

68 et sacrificatio extrema est. Nec longe absunt ab 
hac vi di^ Penates sive a penu ducto nomine (est 
enim omne quo vescuntur homines penus) sive ab 
eo quod penitus insident, ex quo etiam penetrales 
a poetis vocantur. lam Apollinis nomen est Grae- 
cum, quem solem esse volunt, Dianam autem et 
lunam eandem esse putant, cum* sol dictus sit vel 
quia solus ex omnibus sideribus est tantus vel quia 
cum est exortus obscuratis omnibus solus apparet, 

^ nuptam dicunt om. A, B. ^ iam Wolfflein: nam. 

^ vi di ; divi B corr. ^ cumque Mnyor. 

" Euripides, Phaethon, fr. 775: 

u) KaXKi<peyyes "HXi', ios /x dvcoXecras 
Kal t6vo' 'AttoWu} 5' iv (ipoTols o-' dpdCis KaXei 
ScTis rd aiyCjvT' ovoixaT oloe dat/xSvuv. 
But Plato, Cratylus, 405 'AirdWuv = d/j.a tto5Cv . . . ttjv ofxov 
■tr6\rj(TLv Kai irepl t6v ovpavbv . . . /cai irepl t^v iv ry ipS^ dp/xoviav. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xxvi.— xxvii. 

He is said to have married Proserpina (really a Greek 
name, for she is the same as the goddess called 
Persephone in Greek) — they think that she represents 
the seed of corn, and fable that she was hidden away, 

67 and sought for by her mother. The mother is Ceres, 
a corruption of * Geres,' from gero, because she hears 
the crops ; the same accidental change of the first 
letter is also seen in her Greek name Demeterj a cor- 
ruption of ^e meter (' mother earth '). Mavors again 
is from magna vertere, ' the overturner of the great,' 
while Minerva is either * she who minishes ' or * she 
who is minatory.' XXVII. Also, as the beginning 
and the end are the most important parts of all 
aifairs, they held that Janus is the leader in a sacrifice, 
the name being derived from ire (' to go '), hence the 
nsimes jani for archways and januae for the front doors 
of secular buildings. Again, the name Vesta comes 
from the Greeks, for she is the goddess whom they 
call Hestia. Her power extends over altars and 
hearths, and therefore all prayers and all sacrifices 
end with this goddess, because she is the guardian of 

68 the innermost things. Closely related to this function 
are the Penates or household gods, a name derived 
either from penus, which means a store of human food 
of any kind, or from the fact that they residc penitus, 
in the recesses of the house, owing to which they are 
also called penetrales by the poets. The name ApoUo 
again is Greek ; they say that he is the sun,<* and 
Diana they identify ^vith the moon ; the word sol 
being from solus, either because the sun ' alone ' of all 
the heavenly bodies is of that magnitude, or because 
when the sun rises all the stars are dimmed and it 
* alone ' is visible ; while the name luna is derived 

H 189 


Luna a lucendo nominata sit^ ; eadem est enim 
Lucina, itaque, ut apud Graecos Dianam eamque 
Luciferam, sic apud nostros lunonem Lucinam 
in pariendo invocant. Quae eadem Diana Omni- 
vaga dicitur non a venando sed quod in septem 

69 numeratur tamquam vagantibus. Diana^ dicta quia 
noctu quasi diem efficeret. Adhibetur autem ad 
partus quod ii maturescunt aut septem non numquam 
aut ut plerumque novem lunae cursibus, qui quia 
mensa spatia conficiunt menses nominantur ; con- 
cinneque ut multa Timaeus, qui cum in historia di- 
xisset qua nocte natus Alexander esset eadem Dianae 
Ephesiae templum deflagravisse, adiunxit minime id 
esse mirandum, quod Diana cum in partu Olympia- 
dis adesse voluisset afuisset domo. Quae autem dea 
ad res omnes veniret Venerem nostri nominaverunt, 
atque' ex ea potius venustas quam Venus ex venu- 

70 XXVIII. " Videtisne igitur ut a physicis rebus 

bene atque utihter inventis tracta ratio sit ad com- 

menticios et fictos deos ? quae res genuit falsas 

opiniones erroresque turbulentos et superstitiones 

paene aniles. Et formae enim nobis deorum et 

aetates et vestitus ornatusque noti sunt, genera 

praeterea coniugia cognationes, omniaque traducta 

ad simihtudinem inbecilHtatis humanae. Nam et 

perturbatis animis inducuntur : accepimus* enim 

deorum cupiditates aegritudines iracundias ; nec 

^ sit: est Mayor. 

* <sed> Diana Mayor. ^ estque Mayor, 

* accepimus deit. : accipimus Ay B. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xxvii.— xxviii. 

from liicere ' to shine ' ; for it is the same word as 
Lumia, and therefore in our country Juno Lucina is 
invoked in childbirth, as is Diana in her manifesta- 
tion as Lucifera (the Hght-bringer) among the Greeks. 
She is also called Diana Omnivaga (mde-wandering), 
not from her hunting, but because she is counted one 

59 of the seven planets or * wanderers ' (yagari). She 
was called Diana because she made a sort of dai/ in 
the night-time. She is invoked to assist at the birth 
of children, because the period of gestation is either 
occasionally seven, or more usually nine, lunar revolu- 
tions, and these are called menses (months), because 
they cover measured (mensa) spaces. Timaeus in his 
history with his usual aptness adds to his account of 
the burning of the temple of Diana of Ephesus on the 
night on which Alexander was born the remark that 
this need cause no surprise, since Diana was away 
from home, -vvishing to be present when Olympias was 
brought to bed. Venus was so named by our country- 
men as the goddess who ' comes ' (venire) to all things ; 
her name is not derived from the word venustas 
(beauty) but rather venustas from it. 

ro XXVIII. ** Do you see therefore howfrom a true and 
valuable philosophy of nature has been evolved this 
imaginary and fanciful pantheon ? The perversion 
has been a fruitful source of false beUefs, crazy errors 
and superstitions hardly above the level of old wives' 
tales. We know what the gods look hke and how old 
they are, their dress and their equipment, and also 
their genealogies, marriages and relationships, and 
all about them is distorted into the likeness of human 
frailty. They are actually represented as hable to 
passions and emotions — we hear of their being in love, 
sorrowful, angry ; according to the myths they even 



vero ut fabulae ferunt bellis proeliisque caruerunt, 
nec solum ut apud Homerum cum duo exercitus 
contrarios alii dei ex alia parte defenderent, sed 
etiam ut cum Titanis ut cum Gigantibus sua propria 
bella gesserunt. Haec et dicuntur et credun- 
tur stultissime et plena sunt futtilitatis summaeque 

71 le^-itatis. Sed tamen his fabulis spretis ac repudiatis 
deus pertinens per naturam cuiusque rei. per terras 
Ceres per maria Neptunus alii per alia, poterunt 
intellegi qui qualesque sint, quoque eos nomine con- 
suetudo nuncupaverit, hoc eos^ et venerari et colere 
debemus. Cultus autem deorum est optimus idem- 
que castissimus atque sanctissimus plenissimusque 
pietatis ut eos semper pura integra incorrupta et 
mente et voce veneremur. Non enim philosophi 
solum verum etiam maiores nostri superstitionem a 

72 religione separaverunt. Nam qui totos dies preca- 
bantur et immolabant ut sibi sui hberi superstites 
essent superstitiosi sunt appellati, quod nomen patuit 
postea latius ; qui autem omnia quae ad cultum 
deorum pertinerent dihgenter retractarent et tam- 
quam relegerent, <hi>2 sunt dicti rehgiosi ex re- 
legendoj ut elegantes ex ehgendo ex dihgendo di- 
hgentes ex intellegendo intellegentes ; his enim in 
verbis omnibus inest vis legendi eadem quae in 
rehgioso. Ita factum est in superstitioso et rehgioso 
alterum vitii nomen alterum laudis. Ac mihi videor 
satis et esse deos et quales essent ostendisse. 

^ hoc eos Keil : hos deos. " add, Nonius. 

" Scholars are divided as to whether this etymology is 
correct or whether religio is connected with ligare, as Cicero 
himself suggests elsewhere by his phrases religione obstrin- 
gere^ impedire, solvi. 


engage in wars and battles, and that not only when 
as in Homer two arniies are contending and the gods 
take sides and intervene on their behalf, but they 
actually fought wars of their own, for instance with 
the Titans and with the Giants. These stories and 
these behefs are utterly foohsh ; they are stuffed 

fl with nonsense and absurdity of all sorts. But though True 
repudiating these myths with contempt, we shall ^^^'K^oo- 
nevertheless be able to understand the personality 
and the nature of the divinities pervading the sub- 
stance of the several elements, Ceres permeating 
earth, Neptune the sea, and so on ; and it is our duty 
to revere and worship these gods under the names 
which custom has bestowed upon them. But the best 
and also the purest, hoHest and most pious way of 
worshipping the gods is ever to venerate them Mith 
purity, sincerity and innocence both of thought and 
of speech. For religion has been distinguished from 
superstition not only by philosophers but by our 

J2 ancestors. Persons who spent whole days in prayer 
and sacrifice to ensure that their children should out- 
hve them were termed * superstitious ' (from supersies, 
a survivor), and the word later acquired a wider appli- 
cation. Those on the other hand who carefully re- 
viewed and so to speak retraced all the lore of ritual 
were called ' religious ' from relegere (to retrace or 
re-read), Hke ' elegant ' from eligere (to select), * dili- 
gent ' from diligere (to care for). * intelligent ' from 
iniellegere (to understand) ; for all these words con- 
tain the same sense of ' picking out ' (legere) that 
is present in ' reHgious.' ^ Hence ' superstitious ' and 
' reHgious ' came to be terms of censure and approval 
respectively. I think that I have said enough to 
prove the existence of the gods and their nature. 



73 XXIX. " Proximum est ut doceam deorum pro- 
videntia mundum administrari. Magnus sane locus 
est^ et a vestris, Cotta, vexatus, ac nimirum vobis- 
cum omne certamen est. Nam vobis, Vellei, minus 
notum est quem ad modum quidque dicatur ; vestra 
enim solum legitis, vestra amatis, ceteros causa 
incognita condemnatis. Velut a te ipso hesterno die 
dictum est anum fatidicam Trpovotav a Stoicis induci, 
id est providentiam ; quod eo errore dixisti quia 
existumas ab iis pro\ddentiam fingi quasi quandam 
deam singularem quae mundum omnem gubernet et 

74 regat. Sed id praecise dicitur : ut, si quis dicat 
Atheniensium rem pubUcam consiHo regi, desit 
illud * Areopagi,^ ' sic cum dicimus providentia 
mundum administrari deesse arbitrato * deorum/ 
plene autem et perfecte sic dici existimato, pro- 
videntia deorum mundum administrari. Ita salem 
istum, quo caret vestra natio, in inridendis nobis 
noHtote consumere, et mehercle si me audiatis 
ne experiamini quidem ; non decet, non datum est, 
non potestis. Nec vero hoc in te unum^ convenit, 
moribus domesticis ac nostrorum hominum urbanitate 
Hmatum,* sed cum in reHquos vestros tum in eum 
maxime qui ista peperit, hominem sine arte sine Ht- 
teris, insultantem in omnes, sine acumine uUo sine 

76 auctoritate sine lepore. XXX. Dico igitur pro- 

* est om. dett. 
* Ariopagi A corr. t Arpagi cett., Ariipagi Plasherg. 
^ unum Manutius (post convenit Kindervater) : uno. 
* Hmatum Manutius : Hmato. 

« See i. 18, 20, 22. The language here and at iii. 18 
impHes that the work was planned to fah into three separate 
conversations held on three sticcessive days: an indicalion 
that it lacks the author's final revision. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xxix.— xxx. 

73 XXIX. " Next I have to show that the world is ii. Pro- 
governed by di^ine providence. This is of course a givernment 
vast topic ; the doctrine is hotly contested by your of t^^yorid 
school, Cotta, and it is they no doubt that are my intro- 
chief adversaries here. As for you and your friends, Ep"j^irean 
Velleius, you scarcely understand the vocabulary of sneer.sare 
the subject ; for you only read your own ^^Titings, and fgnorance.'" 
are so enamoured of them that you pass judgement 
against all the other schools without giving them a 
hearing. For instance, you yourself told us yesterday'* 

that the Stoics present Pronoia or providence in the 
guise of an old hag of a fortune-teller ; this was due 
to your mistaken notion that they imagine providence 
as a kind of special deity who rules and governs the 
universe. But as a matter of fact ' providence ' is an 

74 elhptical expression ; when one says ' the Athenian 
state is ruled by the council,' the words * of the 
Areopagus ' are omitted : so when we speak of the 
world as governed by providence, you must under- 
stand the words ' of the gods ' and must conceive that 
the full and complete statement would be ' the world 
is governed by the providence of the gods.' So do not 
you and your friends waste your wit on making fun 
of us, — your tribe is none too well off for that com- 
modity. Indeed if your school would take my advice 
you would give up all attempts at humour ; it sits ill 
upon you, for it is not your forte and you can't bring 
it off. This does not, it is true, apply to you in par- 
ticular, — y ou have the poHshed manners of your family 
and the urbanity of a Roman ; but it does apply to 
all the rest of you, and especially to the parent of the 
system, an uncultivated, ilHterate person, who tilts 
at everybody and is entirely devoid of penetration, 

75 authority or chann. XXX. I therefore declare that 



videntia deorum mundum et omnes mundi partes et 
initio constitutas esse et omni tempore administrari ; 
eamque disputationem tris in partes nostri fere 
di^idunt, quarum prima pars est quae ducitur ab ea 
ratione quae docet esse deos ; quo concesso con- 
fitendum est eorum consilio mundum administrari. 
Secunda est autem quae docet omnes res subiectas 
esse naturae sentienti ab eaque omnia pulcherrume 
geri ; quo constituto sequitur ab animantibus 
principiis ea esse generata.^ Tertius est locus 
qui ducitur ex admiratione rerum caelestium atque 

76 " Primum igitur aut negandum est esse deos, quod 
et Democritus simulacra et Epicurus imagines indu- 
cens quodam pacto negat, aut qui deos esse concedant 
iis fatendum est eos aliquid agere idque praeclarum ; 
nihil est autem praeclarius mundi administratione ; 
deorum igitur consilio administratur. Quod si aUter 
est, ahquid profecto sit necesse est melius et maiore 
vi praeditum quam deus, quale id cumque est, sive 
inanima natura sive necessitas vi magna incitata haec 

77 pulcherrima opera efficiens quae videmus ; non est 
igitur natura deorum praepotens neque excellens, si- 
quidem ea subiecta est ei vel necessitati vel naturae 
qua caelum maria terrae regantur. Nihil est autem 
praestantius deo ; ab eo igitur mundum necesse est 
regi ; nulh igitur est naturae oboediens aut subiectus 
deus, omnem ergo regit ipse naturam. Etenim si 

* ea esse generata dett. : eam e. generatam A^ B, omnia e. 
generata Heindorf^ eum e. generatum Walker, 



the world and all its parts were set in order at the Division of 
beginning and have been governed for all time by ^ ^*" ^^ 
di\*ine providence : a thesis which our school usually 
divides into three sections. The first is based on the 
argument proving that the gods exist ; if this be 
granted, it must be admitted that the world is 
governed by their wisdom. The second proves that 
all things are under the sway of sentient nature, and 
that by it the universe is carried on in the most beauti- 
ful manner ; and this proved, it follows that the 
universe was generated from hving first causes. The 
third topic is the argument from the wonder that we 
feel at the marvel of creation, celestial and terrestrial. 

76 " In the first place therefore one must either deny (^ Provi- 
the existence of the gods, which in a manner is done dentiai 
by Democritus when he represents them as * appari- fnfprred 
tions ' and by Epicurus with his ' images ' ; or any- J-vkie^^ 
body who admits that the gods exist must allow them wisdom and 
activity, and activity of the most distinguished sort ; p^^®*"' 
now nothinff can be more distino^uished than the 
government of the world ; therefore the world is 
governed by the wisdom of the gods. If this is not 

so, there must clearly be something better and more 
powerful than god, be it what it may, whether inani- 
mate nature or necessity speeding on with mighty 
force to create the supremely beautiful objects that 

77 we see ; in that case the nature of the gods is not 
superior to all else in power, inasmuch as it is subject 
to a necessity or nature that rules the sky, sea and 
land. But as a matter of fact nothing exists that is 
superior to god ; it follows therefore that the world is 
ruled by him ; therefore god is not obedient or sub- 
ject to any form of nature, and therefore he himself 
rules all nature. In fact if we concede divine intelh- 



concedimus intellegentes esse deos, concedimus etiam 
providentes et rerum quidem maxumarum. Ergo 
utrum ignorant quae res maxumae sint quoque eae 
modo tractandae et tuendae, an vim non habent qua 
tantas res sustineant et gerant ? At et ignoratio 
rerum aliena naturae deorum est et sustinendi 
muneris propter inbecillitatem difficultas minime 
cadit in maiestatem deorum. Ex quo efficitur id 
quod volumus, deorum providentia mundum admini- 

78 strari. XXXI. Atqui necesse est cum sint di (si 
modo sunt, ut profecto sunt) animantis esse, nec 
solum animantis sed etiam rationis compotes inter 
seque quasi ci\ili conciliatione et societate coniunctos, 
unum mundum ut communem rem publicam atque 

79 urbem aliquam regentis. Sequitur ut eadem sit in 
iis quae humano in genere ratio, eadem veritas 
utrobique sit eademque lex, quae est recti prae- 
ceptio pravique depulsio. Ex quo intellegitur pru- 
dentiam quoque et mentem a deis ad homines per- 
venisse ; ob eamque causam maiorum institutis Mens 
Fides Virtus Concordia consecratae et publice dedi- 
catae sunt, quae qui convenit penes deos esse negare 
cum earum^ augusta et sancta simulacra veneremur ? 
Quodsi inest in hominum genere mens fides virtus 
concordia, unde haec in terram nisi ab superis defluere 
potuerunt ? Cumque sint in nobis consiUum ratio 
prudentia, necesse est deos haec ipsa habere maiora, 
nec habere solum sed etiam iis uti in maxumis et 

^ earum ed. : eorum. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xxx.— xxxi. 

gence, we concede also divine providence, and provi- 
dence exercised in things of the highest moment. 
Are then the gods ignorant what things are of the 
highest moment and how these are to be directed and 
u}:)held, or do they lack the strength to undertake 
and to perform duties so vast ? But ignorance is 
foreign to the divine nature, and weakness, with a 
consequent incapacity to perform one's office, in no 
way suits with the divine majesty. This proves our 
thesis that the world is governed by divine providence. 

78 XXXI. And yet from the fact of the gods' existence 
(assuming that they exist, as they certainly do) it 
necessarily follows that they are animate beings, and 
not only animate but possessed of reason and united 
togetlier in a sort of social community or fellowship, 
ruhng the one world as a united commonwealth or 

79 state. It follows that they possess the same faculty 
of reason as the human race, and that both have 
the same apprehension of truth and the same law 
enjoining what is right and rejecting what is 
wrong. Hence we see that wisdom and intelU- 
gence also have been derived by men from the 
gods ; and this explains why it was the practice of 
our ancestors to deify Mind, Faith, Virtue and Con- 
cord, and to set up temples to them at the pubhc 
charge, and how can we consistently deny that they 
exist with the gods, when we worship their majestic 
and holy images ? And if mankind possesses intelh- 
gence, faith, virtue and concord, whence can these 
things have flowed down upon the earth if not from 
the powers above ? Also since we possess wisdom, 
reason and prudence, the gods must needs possess 
them too in greater perfection, and not possess them 
merely but also exercise them upon matters of the 



80 optumis rebus ; nihil autem nec maius nec melius 
mundo ; necesse est ergo eum deorum consilio et 
pro\identia administrari. Postremo cum satis do- 
cuerimus hos esse deos quorum insignem vim et 
inlustrem faciem videremus, solem dico et lunam et 
vagas stellas et inerrantes et caelum et mundum 
ipsum et earum rerum vim quae inessent in omni 
mundo cum magno usu et commoditate generis 
humani, efRcitur omnia regi divina mente atque 
prudentia. Ac de prima quidem parte satis dictum 

81 XXXII. " Sequitur ut doceam omnia subiecta 
esse naturae eaque ab ea pulcherrime geri.^ Sed quid 
sit ipsa natura expHcandum est ante breviter, quo 
facihus id quod docere volumus intellegi possit. 
Namque ahi naturam esse censent vim quandam sine 
ratione cientem motus in corporibus necessarios, ahi 
autem \im participem rationis atque ordinis tam- 
quam via progredientem declarantemque quid 
cuiusque rei causa efficiat quid sequatur, cuius soUer- 
tiam nulla ars nuha manus nemo opifex consequi 
possit imitando ; seminis enim vim esse tantam ut id, 
quamquam sit perexiguum, tamen si inciderit in 
concipientem conprendentemque naturam nanctum- 
que sit materiam qua ah augerique possit, ita fingat 
et efficiat in suo quidque genere, partim ut tantum 
modo per stirpes alantur suas, partim ut moveri 
etiam et sentire et appetere possint et ex sese 

82 simiha sui gignere. Sunt autem qui omnia naturae 

^ geri At B : regi dett, 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xxxi.— xxxii. 

80 greatest magnitiide and value ; but nothing is of 
greater magnitude and value than the universe ; it 
follows therefore that the universe is governed by the 
wisdom and pro^idence of the gods. Finally, since 
we have conclusively proved the divinity of those 
beings whose glorious might and shining aspect we 
behold, I mean the sun and moon and the planets and 
fixed stars, and the sky and the world itself, and all 
that mighty multitude of objects contained in all the 
world which are of great service and benefit to the 
human race, the conclusion is that all things are ruled 
by divine intelligence and wisdom. So much for the 
first di^ision of my subject. 

81 XXXII. " Next I have to show that all things are (-2) Provi. 
under the sway of nature and are carried on by her in go!?eJ.nment 
the most excellent manner. But first I must briefly infen-ed 
explain the meaning of the term ' nature ' itself, to nature of 
make our doctrine more easily intelhffible. Some !^ worid. 

•' . c> Inemeaning 

persons denne nature as a non-rational lorce that of ' nature.' 
causes necessary motions in material bodies ; others 
as a rational and ordered force, proceeding by method 
and plainly displaying the means that she takes to 
produce each result and the end at which she aims, 
and possessed of a skill that no handiwork of artist or 
craftsman can rival or reproduce. For a seed, they 
point out, has such potency that, tiny though it is in 
size, nevertheless if it falls into some substance that 
conceives and enfolds it, and obtains suitable material 
to foster its nurture and growth, it fashions and 
produces the various creatures after their kinds, 
some designed merely to absorb nourishment through 
their roots, and others capable of motion, sensation, 

82 appetition and reproduction of their species. Some 
thinkers again denote by the term * nature ' the whole 


nomine appellent, ut Epicurus, qui ita diWdit : 
omnium quae sint naturam esse corpora et inane 
quaeque his accidant. Sed nos cum dicimus natura 
constare administrarique mundum, non ita di- 
cimus ut glaebam aut fragmentum lapidis aut aliquid 
eius modi sola^ cohaerendi natura, sed ut arborem 
ut animal, in quibus nulla temeritas sed ordo apparet 
et artis quaedam simiUtudo. 

83 XXXIII. " Quodsi ea quae a terra stirpibus con- 
tinentur arte naturae ^ivunt et vigent, profecto 
ipsa terra eadem vi continetur [arte naturae]," 
quippe quae gravidata semiinibus omnia pariat 
et fundat ex sese, stirpes amplexa alat et augeat 
ipsaque alatur \dcissim a superis externisque naturis. 
Eiusdemque exspirationibus et aer aUtm' et aether 
et omnia supera. Ita si terra natura tenetur et 
viget eadem ratio in reUquo mundo est ; stirpes 
enim terrae inhaerent, animantes autem adspi- 
ratione aeris sustinentur, ipseque aer nobiscum 
videt nobiscum audit nobiscum sonat, nihil enim 
eorum sine eo fieri potest ; quin etiam movetur no- 
biscum, quacumque enim imus quacumque^ move- 

84 mur videtur quasi locum dare et cedere. Quaeque 
in medium locum mundi qui est infimus* et quae a 
medio in superum quaeque conversione rotunda 
circum medium feruntur, ea continentem mundi 
efficiunt unamque naturam. Et cum quattuor 
genera sint corporum, vicissitudine eorum mundi 

^ sola Walkfr : nulla mss., una vel nuda Davies^ nuUa 
<ni'.i> Heindorf. ' om. Davies. 

* quacunque B corr. : qua. 

* <in rotundo> infimus Plasherg^ 

* The Mss. give " which possesses no natural principle of 


DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xxxii.— xxxiii. 

of existence — for example Epicurus, who divides the 
nature of all existing things into atoms, void, and the 
attributes of these. When we on the other hand 
speak of nature as the sustaining and governing 
principle of the world, we do not mean that the world 
is Uke a clod of earth or lump of stone or something 
else of that sort, which possesses only " the natural 
principle of cohesion, but Hke a tree or an animal, 
displaying no haphazard structure, but order and 
a certain semblance of design. 

33 XXXIII. " But if the plants fixed and rooted in the '^'J^'^^ 
earth owe their Hfe and vigour to nature's art, surely organism 
theearthherself must be sustained by the same power, InYnTem-^^ 
inasmuch as M-hen impregnated with seeds she brings gent natuie. 
forth from her womb all things in profusion, nourishes 
their roots in her bosom and causes them to grow, and 
herself in turn is nourished by the upper and outer 
elements. Her exhalations moreover give nourish- 
ment to the air, the ether and all the heavenly bodies. 
Thus if earth is upheld and inWgorated by nature, 
the same principle must hold good of the rest of the 
world, for plants are rooted in the earth, animals are 
sustained by breathing air, and the air itself is our 
partner in seeing, hearing and uttering sounds, since 
none of these actions can be performed without 
its aid ; nay, it even moves as we move, for wherever 
we go or move our hmbs, it seems as it were to give 

84 place and retire before us. And those things which 
travel towards the centre of the earth which is its 
lowest point, those which move from the centre 
upwards, and those which rotate in circles round the 
centre, constitute the one continuous nature of the 
world. Again the continuum of the world's nature 
is constituted by the cychc transmutations of the four 



continuata natura est. Nam ex terra aqua ex aqua 
oritur aer ex aere aether, deinde retrorsum vicissim 
ex aethere aer, inde aqua, ex aqua terra infima. 
Sic naturis his ex quibus omnia constant sursus 
deorsus ultro citro commeantibus mundi partium 

85 coniunctio continetur. Quae aut sempiterna sit 
necesse est hoc eodem ornatu quem videmus, aut 
certe perdiuturna, permanens ad longinquum et 
inmensum paene tempus. Quorum utrumvis ut sit, 
sequitur natura mundum administrari. Quae enim 
classium navigatio aut quae instructio exercitus aut, 
rursus ut ea quae natura efficit conferamus, quae 
procreatio vitis aut arboris, quae porro animantis 
figura conformatioque membrorum tantam naturae 
sollertiam significat quantam ipse mundus ? Aut 
igitur nihil est quod sentiente natura regatur, aut 

86 mundum regi confitendum est. Etenim qui rehquas 
naturas omnes earumque semina contineat qui potest 
ipse non natura administrari ? ut si qui dentes et 
pubertatem natura dicat existere, ipsum autem 
hominem cui ea existant non constare natura, non 
intellegat ea quae ecferant afiquid ex sese perfec- 
tiores habere naturas quam ea quae ex iis ecferantur. 
XXXIV. Omnium autem rerum quae natura ad- 
ministrantur seminator et sator et parens ut ita 
dicam atque educator et altor est mundus omniaque 
sicut membra et partes suas nutricatur et continet. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xxxiii.— xxxiv. 

kinds of matter. For earth turns into water, water 
into air, air into aether, and then the process is re- 
versed, and aether becomes air, air water, and water 
earth, the lowest of the four. Thus the parts of the 
world are held in union by the constant passage up 
and down, to and fro, of these four elements of whicn 

85 all things are composed. And this world-structure 
must either be everlasting in this same form in which 
we see it or at all events extremely durable, and des- 
tined to endure for an ahiiost immeasurably pro- 
tracted period of time. Whichever alternative be 
true, the inference follows that the world is governed 
by nature. For consider the navigation of a fleet, the 
marshaUing of an army, or (to return to instances 
from the processes of nature) the budding of a vine 
or of a tree, or even the shape and structure of the 
hmbs of an animal — when do these ever evidence 
such a degree of skill in nature as does the world 
itself } Either therefore there is nothing that is ruled 
by a sentient nature, or we must admit that the 

86 world is so ruled. Indeed, how is it possible that the 
universe, which contains within itself all the other 
natures and their seeds, should not itself be governed 
by nature .'' Thus if anyone declared that a mans 
teeth and the hair on his body are a natural growth 
but that the man himself to whom they belong is not 
a natural organism, he would fail to see that things 
which produce something from within them must 
have more perfect natures than the things which are 
produced from them. XXXIV. But the sower and 
planter and begetter, so to speak, of all the things 
that nature governs, their trainer and nourisher, is 
the world ; the world gives nutriment and sustenance 
to all its Hmbs as it were, or parts. But if the parts 



Quodsi mundi partes natura administrantur, necesse 
est mundum ipsum natura administrari. Cuius qui- 
dem administratio nihil habet in se quod reprehendi 
possit ; ex iis enim naturis quae erant quod effici 

87 optimum potuit efFectum est. Doceat ergo ahquis 
potuisse meUus ; sed nemo umquam docebit, et 
si quis corrigere aHquid volet aut deterius faciet 
aut id quod fieri non potuerit desiderabit. 

" Quodsi omnes mundi partes ita constitutae sunt 
ut neque ad usum mehores potuerint esse neque 
ad speciem pulcriores, videamus utrum ea fortuita- 
ne sint an eo statu quo cohaerere nullo modo 
potuerint nisi sensu moderante divinaque pro- 
videntia. Si igitur mehora sunt ea quae natura 
quam illa quae arte perfecta sunt, nec ars efficit 
quicquam sine ratione, ne natura quidem rationis 
expers est habenda. Qui igitur convenit, signum aut 
tabulam pictam cum aspexeris, scire adhibitam esse 
artem, cumque procul cursum navigii videris, non 
dubitare quin id ratione atque arte moveatur, aut 
cum solarium vel descriptum vel ex aqua contemplere, 
intellegere declarari horas arte non casu, mundum 
autem, qui et has ipsas artes et earum artifices et 
cuncta conplectatur, consihi et rationis esse expertem 

88 putare ? Quodsi in Scythiam aut in Britanniam 
sphaeram ahquis tulerit hanc quam nuper famiharis 
noster effecit Posidonius, cuius singulae conversiones 
idem efficiunt in sole et in luna et in quiiique stelUa 


of the world are governed by nature, the world 
itself must needs be governed by nature. Now the 
government of the world contains nothing that could 
possibly be censured ; given the existing elements, 
the best that could be produced from them has been 

87 produced. Let someone therefore prove that it The worWs 

T -1 1 1 t T» -n perfection 

could have been better. But no one ^^ill ever prove must be the 
this, and anyone who essays to improve some detail Jnteuigence 
will either make it worse or will be demanding an(thatofa 
improvement impossible in the nature of things. nJer^ 

" But if the structure of the world in all its parts is 
such that it could not have been better whether in 
point of utility or beauty, let us consider whether 
this is the result of chance, or whether on the contrary 
the parts of the world are in such a condition that 
they could not possibly have cohered together if they 
were not controlled by intelligence and by divine 
providence. If then the products of nature are better 
than those of art, and if art produces nothing A\athout 
reason, nature too cannot be deemed to be \vithout 
reason. When you see a statue or a painting, you 
recognize the exercise of art ; when you observe 
from a distance the course of a ship, you do not hesi- 
tate to assume that its motion is guided by reason and 
by art ; when you look at a sun-dial or a M-ater-clock, 
you infer that it tells the time by art and not by 
chance ; how then can it be consistent to suppose 
that the world, which includes both the works of art 
in question, the craftsmen who made them, and 
everything else besides, can be devoid of purpose and 

88 of reason ? Suppose a traveller to carry into Scythia 
or Britain the orrery recently constructed by our 
friend Posidonius, which at each revolution repro- 
duces the same motions of the sun, the moon and the 



errantibus quod efficitur in caelo singulis diebus et 
noctibus, quis in illa barbaria dubitet quin ea sphaera 
sit perfecta ratione ? XXXV. Hi autem dubitant 
de mundo ex quo et oriuntur et fiunt omnia, casune 
ipse sit efFectus aut necessitate aliqua an ratione 
ac mente divina, et Archimedem arbitrantur plus 
valuisse in imitandis sphaerae conversionibus quam 
naturam in efficiendis, praesertim cum multis parti- 
bus sint illa perfecta quam haec simulata sollertius. 
89 Utque^ ille apud Accium pastor qui navem numquam 
ante vidisset, ut procul divinum et novum vehiculum 
Argonautarum e monte conspexit, primo admirans et 
perterritus hoc modo loquitur : 

tanta moles labitur 
fremibunda ex alto ingenti sonitu et spiritu* : 
prae se undas volvit, vertices vi suscitat, 
ruit prolapsa, pelagus respergit reflat ; 
ita dum interruptum credas nimbum volvier, 
dum quod sublime ventis expulsum rapi 
saxum aut procellis, vel globosos turbines 
existere ictos undis concursantibus, 
nisi quas terrestris pontus strages conciet, 
aut forte Triton fuscina evertens specus 
subter radices penitus undanti in freto 
molem ex profundo saxeam ad caelum eruit. 

Dubitat primo quae sit ea natura quam cernit igno- 
tam ; idemque iuvenibus visis auditoque nautico 
cantu : 

fsicut]^ inciti atque alacres rostris perfreraunt 
delphini — 

item aha multa — 

* utque Plosberg : atque A, B, atqui deit, 

2 spiritu Priscian : strepitu. 

3 sicut non habuit pr. B {Dieckhoff). 

•• Born 170 b.o. The lines came from his Medea. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xxxiv.— xxxv. 

five planets that take place in the heavens every 
twenty-four hours, would any single native doubt that 
this orrery was the work of a rational being ? XXXV. 
These thinkers however raise doubts about the world 
itself from which all things arise and have their being, 
and debate whether it is the product of chance or 
necessity of some sort, or of divine reason and intelli- 
gence ; they think more highly of the achievement 
of Archimedes in making a model of the revolutions 
of the firmament than of that of nature in creating 
them, although the perfection of the original shows 
a craftsmanship many times as great as does the 
J9 counterfeit. Just as the shepherd in Accius '^ who had 
never seen a ship before, on descrying in the distance 
fxom his mountain-top the strange vessel of the 
Argonauts, built by the gods, in his first amazement 
and alarm cries out ; 

so huge a bulk 
GUdes from the deep with the roar of a whistling wind t 
Waves roll before, and eddies surge and swirl ; 
Hurtling headlong, it snorts and sprays the foam. 
Now might one deem a bursting storm-cloud roUed, 
Now that a rock flew sky^vard, flung aloft 
By wind and storm, or whirhng waterspout 
Rose from the clash of wave with warring wave ; 
Save 'twere land-havoc wrought by ocean-flood, 
Or Triton's trident, heaving up the roots 
Of cavernous vaults beneath the billowy sea, 
Hurled from the depth heaven-high a massy crag. 

At first he wonders what the unknown creature that 
he beholds may be. Then when he sees the warriors 
and hears the singing of the sailors, he goes on : 

the sportive dolphins swift 
Forge snorting through the foam — 

and so on and so on — 



Silvani melo 
consimilem ad aures cantum et auditum refert. 

90 Ergo ut hic primo aspectu inanimum quiddam sensu- 
que vacuum se putat cernere, post autem signis 
certioribus quale sit id de quo dubitaverat incipit 
suspicari, sic philosophi debuerunt, si forte eos pri- 
mus aspectus mundi conturbaverat, postea, cum vidis- 
sent motus eius finitos et aequabiles omniaque ratis 
ordinibus moderata inmutabihque constantia, intelle- 
gere inesse ahquem non solum habitatorem in hac 
caelesti ac divina domo sed etiam rectorem et 
moderatorem et tamquam architectum tanti operis 
tantique muneris. 

XXXVI. " Nunc autem mihi videntur ne suspi- 
cari quidem quanta sit admirabihtas caelestium rerum 

91 atque terrestrium. Principio enim terra sita in 
media parte mundi circumfusa undique est hac 
animah spirabiUque natura cui nomen est aer — 
Graecum illud quidem sed perceptum iam tamen 
usu a nostris ; tritum est enim pro Latino. Hunc 
rursus amplectitur inmensus aether, qui constat ex 
altissimis ignibus — mutuemur hoc quoque verbum, 
dicaturque tam aether Latine quam dicitur aer, etsi 
interpretatur Pacuvius : 

hoc quod memoro nostri caelum, Graii perhibent aethera — 

quasi vero non Graiiis hoc dicat ! ' At Latine loqui- 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xxxv.— xxxvi. 

Brings to my ears and hearing such a tune 
As old Silvanus piped. 

90 Well then, even as the shepherd at the first sight 
thinks he sees some hfeless and inanimate object, but 
afterwards is led by clearer indications to begin to 
suspect the true nature of the thing about which he 
had previously been uncertain, so it would have been 
the proper course for the philosophers, if it so hap- 
pened that the first sight of the world perplexed them, 
afterwards when they had seen its definite and regular 
motions, and all its phenomena controlled by fixed 
system and unchanging uniformity, to infer the 
presence not merely of an inhabitant of this celestial 
and divine abode, but also of a ruler and governor, the 
architect as it -vvere of this mighty and monumental 

XXXVI. " But as it is they appear to me to have 
no suspicion even of the marvels of the celestial and 

91 terrestrial creation. For in the first place the earth, 
which is situated in the centre of the world, is sur- 
rounded on all sides by this hving and respirable 
substance named the air. 'Air ' is a Greek word, but 
yet it has by this time been accepted in use by our 
race, and in fact passes current as Latin. The air in 
turn is embraced by the immeasurable aether, which 
consists of the most elevated portions of fire. The 
term ' aether ' also we may borrow, and employ it 
hke ' air ' as a Latin word, though Pacu^ius provides 
his readers vrith a translation : 

What I speak of, we call heaven, but the Greeks it ' aether' 

just as though the man who says this were not a 
Greek! 'Well, he is talking Latin,' you may say. 



tur.' Si quidem nos non quasi Graece loquentem 
audiamus ; docet idem alio loco : 

Graiugena : de isto^ aperit ipsa oratio. 

92 Sed ad maiora redeamus. Ex aethere igitur innume- 
rabiles flammae siderum exsistunt, quorum est prin- 
ceps sol omnia clarissima luce conlustrans, multis 
partibus maior atque amplior quam terra universa, 
deinde reliqua sidera magnitudinibus inmensis. 
Atque hi tanti ignes tamque multi non modo nihil 
nocent terris rebusque terrestribus, sed ita prosunt 
ut si moti^ loco sint conflagrare terras necesse sit 
a tantis ardoribus moderatione et temperatione 

93 XXXVII. " Hic ego non mirer esse quemquam 
qui sibi persuadeat corpora quaedam solida atque 
individua vi^ et gravitate ferri mundumque effici 
ornatissimum et pulcherrimum ex eorum corporum 
concursione fortuita ? Hoc qui existimat fieri 
potuisse, non intellego cur non idem putet, si in- 
numerabiles unius et viginti formae Htterarum vel 
aureae vel qualeshbet ahquo coiciantur, posse ex 
iis in terram excussis annales Ennii ut deinceps legi 
possint effici ; quod nescio an ne in uno quidem 

94 versu possit tantum valere fortuna. Isti autem 
quem ad modum adseverant ex corpuscuhs non 
calore non quahtate ahqua (quam TroioTrjTa Graeci 

* istoc Bothe. * moti dett. : mota A^ B. 

• <sua> vi Lambinus. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xxxvi.— xxxvii. 

Just so, if we won't suppose we are hearing liira 
talk Greek ; in another passage Pacuvius tells us : 

A Grecian born : my speech discloses that. 

92 But let us return to more important matters. From 
aetherthenarisetheinnumerable fires of the heavenly 
bodies, chief of which is the sun, who illumines all 
things with most brilhant hght, and is many times 
greater and vaster than the whole earth ; and after 
him the other stars of unmeasured magnitudes. And 
these vast and numerous fires not merely do no harm 
to the earth and to terrestrial things, but are actually 
beneficial, though with the quahfication that were 
their positions altered, the earth would inevitably be 
burnt up by such enormous volumes of heat when 
uncontrolled and untempered. 

93 XXXVII. " At this point must I not marvel that nie worid'8 
there should be anyone who can persuade himself resuuTrom* 
that there are certain soUd and indivisible particles ^ fortuitous 
of matter borne along by the force of gravity, and that of atoms. 
the fortuitous colUsion of those particles produces 

this elaborate and beautiful world ? I cannot under- 
stand why he who considers it possible for this to have 
occurred should not also think that, if a countless 
number of copies of the one-and-twenty letters of the 
alphabet, made of gold or what you vnl\, were thrown 
together into some receptacle and then shaken out ^ 

on to the ground, it would be possible that they should 
produce the Annals of Ennius, aU ready for the reader. 
I doubt whether chance could possibly succeed in 

94 producing even a single verse ! Yet according to the 
assertion of your friends, that out of particles of matter 
not endowed with heat, nor \^dth any ' quaUty ' 
(the Greek tQYmpoioies), nor with sense, but coUiding 



vocant) non sensu praeditis sed concurrentibus temere 
atque casu mundum esse perfectum, vel innumera- 
biles potius in omni puncto temporis alios nasci alios 
interire, — quodsi mundum efRcere potest concursus 
atomorum, cur porticum cur templum cur domum 
cur urbem non potest, quae sunt minus operosa et 
multo^ quidem [faciliora]^ ? Certe ita temere de 
mundo effutiunt ut mihi quidem numquam hunc 
admirabilem caeli ornatum (qui locus est proximus) 
suspexisse \ddeantur. Praeclare ergo Aristoteles 
95 ' Si essent ' inquit ' qui sub terra semper habita- 
vissent bonis et inlustribus domiciliis quae essent 
ornata signis atque picturis instructaque rebus 
iis omnibus quibus abundant ii qui beati putantur, 
nec tamen exissent umquam supra terram, ac- 
cepissent autem fama et auditione esse quoddam 
numen et vim deorum, deinde aliquo tempore 
patefactis terrae faucibus ex illis abditis sedibus 
evadere in haec loca quae nos incohmus atque exire 
potuissent : cum repente terram et maria caelumque 
vidissent, nubium magnitudinem ventorumque vim 
cognovissent aspexissentque solem eiusque cum 
magnitudinem pulchritudinemque tum etiam effi- 
cientiam cognovissent, quod is diem efficeret toto 
caelo luce diifusa, cum autem terras nox opacasset, 
tum caelum totum cernerent astris distinctum et 
ornatum lunaeque luminum varietatem tum crescen- 
tis tum senescentis eorumque omnium ortus et 
occasus atque in omni aeternitate ratos inmutabilos- 
que cursus — quae cum viderent, profecto et esse 

^ multa B. 2 secl. Madvig. 

" In the lost dialogue I)e PJtilosophia^ see i. 33 n. 


together at haphazard and by chance, the world 
has emerged complete, or rather a comitless number 
of worlds are some of them being born and some 
perishing at every moment of time — yet if the 
clash of atoms can create a world, why can it not 
produce a colonnade, a temple, a house, a city, which 
are less and indeed much less difficult things to make ? 
The fact is, they indulge in such random babbhng 
about the world that for my part I cannot think 
that they have ever looked up at this marvellously 
beautiful sky — which is my next topic. So Aristotle 
95 says <* briUiantly : * If there were beings who had al- oniy 
ways Uved beneath the earth, in comfortable, well-Ut bUndl^nsHr 
dvreUings, decorated with statues and pictures and the dhine 
furnished \\ith all the luxuries enjoyed by persons nauu-?^^ 
thought to be supremely happy, and who though they 
had never come forth above the ground had learnt 
by report and by hearsay of the existence of certain 
deities or divine powers ; and then if at some time 
the jaws of the earth M-ere opened and they were able 
to escape from their hidden abode and to come forth 
into the regions which we inhabit ; when they sud- 
denly had sight of the earth and the seas and the sky, 
and came to know of the vast clouds and mighty 
winds, and beheld the sun, and reaUzed not only its 
size and beauty but also its potency in causing the 
day by shedding Ught over aU the sky, and, after 
night had darkened the earth, they then saw the 
whole sky spangled and adorned with stars, and the 
changing phases of the moon's Ught, now waxing and 
now waning, and the risings and settings of aU these 
heavenly bodies and their courses fixed and change- 
less throughout aU eternity, — when they saw these 
things, surely they would think that the gods exist 



deos et haec tanta opera deorum esse arbitrarentur.* 

96 XXXVIII. Atque haec quidem ille ; nos autem 
tenebras cogitemus tantas quantae quondam erup- 
tione Aetnaeorum ignium finitimas regiones obscura- 
visse dicuntur. ut per biduum nemo hominem homo 
agnosceret, cum autem tertio die sol inluxisset tum ut 
revixisse sibi viderentur : quodsi hoc idem ex aeternis 
tenebris contingeret ut subito lucem aspiceremus, 
quaenam species caeH videretur ? Sed adsiduitate 
cotidiana et consuetudine oculorum adsuescunt 
animi, neque admirantur neque requirunt rationes 
earum rerum quas semper vident, proinde quasi 
novitas nos magis quam magnitudo rerum debeat 

97 ad exquirendas causas excitare. Quis enim hunc 
hominem dixerit qui, cum tam certos caeU motus 
tam ratos astrorum ordines tamque inter se omnia 
conexa et apta ^iderit, neget in his ullam inesse 
rationem, eaque casu fieri dicat quae quanto consilio 
gerantur nuUo consiUo adsequi possumus ? An, 
cum machinatione quadam moveri ahquid videmus, 
ut sphaeram ut horas ut aUa permulta, non dubi- 
tamus quin iUa opera sint rationis, cum autem 
impetum caeU cum admirabiU celeritate moveri 
vertique videamus^ constantissime conficientem 
vicissitudines anniversarias cum summa salute et 
conservatione rerum omnium, dubitamus quin ea 

* videmus dett, 

DE NATURA DEORUM, 11. xxxvii.— xxxviii. 

and that these mighty marvels are their handiwork.* 
96 XXXVIII. Thus far Aristotle ; let us for our part 
imagine a darkness as dense as that which is said to 
have once covered the neighbouring districts on the 
occasion of an eruption of the volcano Etna, so that 
for two days no man could recognize his fellow, and 
when on the third day the sun shone upon them, they 
felt as if they had come to life again : well, suppose 
that after darkness had prevailed from the beginning 
of time, it similarly happened to ourselves suddenly 
to behold the Hght of day, what should we think of the 
splendour of the heavens ? But daily recurrence and 
habit familiarize our minds with the sight, and we 
feel no surprise or curiosity as to the reasons for 
things that we see always ; just as if it were the 
novelty and not rather the importance of phenomena 
that ought to arouse us to inquire into their causes. 
97 Who would not deny the name of human being to a 
man who, on seeing the regular motions of the heaven 
and the fixed order of the stars and the accurate inter- 
connexion and interrelation of all things, can deny 
that these things possess any rational design, and can 
maintain that phenomena, the wisdom of whose 
ordering transcends the capacity of our wisdom to 
understand it, take place by chance ? When we see 
something moved by machinery, hke an orrery or 
clock or many other such things, we do not doubt that 
these contrivances are the work of reason ; when 
therefore we behold the whole compass of the heaven 
moving with revolutions of marvellous velocity and 
executing with perfect regularity the annual changes 
of the seasons wdth absolute safety and security for 
all things, how can we doubt that all this is effected 



non solum ratione fiant sed etiam excellenti divlna- 
que ratione ? 

98 " Licet enim iam remota subtilitate disputandi 
oculis quodam modo contemplari pulchritudinem 
rerum earum quas di\dna providentia dicimus consti- 
tutas. XXXIX. Ac principio terra universa cernatur, 
locata in media sede mundi, solida et globosa et 
undique ipsa in sese nutibus suis conglobata, vestita 
floribus herbis arboribus frugibus, quorum omnium 
incredibihs multitudo insatiabili varietate distingui- 
tur. Adde huc fontium gelidas perennitates, liquores 
perlucidos amnium, riparum vestitus viridissimos, 
speluncarum concavas altitudines, saxorum asperi- 
tates, inpendentium montium altitudines inmensi- 
tatesque camporum ; adde etiam reconditas auri 

99 argentique venas infinitamque vim marmoris. Quae 
vero et quam varia genera bestiarum vel cicurum 
vel ferarum ! qui volucrium lapsus atque cantus ! 
qui pecudum pastus ! quae vita silvestrium ! Quid 
iam de hominum genere dicam ? qui quasi cultores 
terrae constituti non patiuntur eam nec inmanitate 
beluarum efFerari nec stirpium asperitate vastari, 
quorumque operibus agri, insulae Utoraque coUucent 
distincta tectis et urbibus. Quae si ut animis 
sic ocuUs videre possemus, nemo cunctam intuens 

100 terram de divina ratione dubitaret. At vero quanta 
maris est pulchritudo ! quae species universi ! quae 
multitudo et varietas insularum ! quae amoenitates 
orarum ac htorum ! quot genera quamque dis- 
paria partim submersarum, partim fluitantium et 



not merely by reason, but by a reason that is trans- 
cendent and divine ? 

i8 " For we may now put aside elaborate argument (3) Detaiied 
and gaze as it were with our eyes upon the beauty of Se' wo "der^ 
the creations of divine providence, as we declare them of nature 
to be. XXXIX. And first let us behold the whole ^^^ '^'"'^^^' 
earth, situated in the centre of the world, a sohd The earth 
spherical mass gathered into a globe by the natural other*^^ 
gra\itation of all its parts, clothed \\ith flowers and eiemecta 
grass and trees and corn, forms of vegetation all of 
them incredibly numerous and inexhaustibly varied 
and diverse. Add to these cool fountains ever flowincf, 
transparent streams and rivers, their banks clad in 
brighest verdure, deep vaulted caverns, craggy rocks, 
sheer mountain heights and plains of immeasurable 
extent ; add also the hidden veins of gold and silver, 

9 and marble in unUmited quantity. Think of all the 
various species of animals, both tame and wild! think 
of the flights and songs of birds ! of the pastures 
filled with cattle, and the teeming hfe of the wood- 
lands 1 Then why need I speak of the race of men ? 
who are as it were the appointed tillers of the soil, and 
who sufFer it not to become a savage haunt of mon- 
strous beasts of prey nor a barren waste of thickets 
and brambles, and whose industry diversifies and 
adornsthe landsandislandsand coasts with houses and 
cities. Could we but behold these things with our eyes 
as we can picture them in our minds, no one taking 
in the whole earth at one view could doubt the divine 

>0 reason. Then how great is the beauty of the sea ! 
how glorious the aspect of its vast expanse ! how many 
and how diverse its islands ! how lovely the scenery of 
its coasts and shores ! how numerous and how differ- 
ent the species of marine animals, some dweUing in 



iimantiiiin beluarum, partim ad saxa nati\as testis 
inhaerentium ! Ipsum autem mare sic terram appe- 
tens litoribus alludit ut una ex duabus naturis conflata 

101 videatur. Exin mari finitumus aer die et nocte di- 
stinguitur, isque tum fusus et extenuatus sublime 
fertur,tum autem concretus in nubes cogitur umorem- 
que colligens terram auget imbribus, tum effluens 
huc et illuc ventos efficit. Idem annuas frigorum et 
calorum facit varietates, idemque et volatus alitum 
sustinet et spiritu^ ductus alit et sustentat animantes. 
XL. Restat ultimus et a domiciliis nostris altissimus 
omnia cingens et coercens caeh complexus, qui idem 
aether vocatur, extrema ora et determinatio mundi, 
in quo cum admirabiUtate maxima igneae formae 

102 cursus ordinatos definiunt. E quibus sol, cuius ma- 
gnitudine multis partibus terra superatur, circum eam 
ipsam vol\*itur, isque oriens et occidens diem noctem- 
que conficit, et modo accedens tum autem recedens 
binas in singuHs annis reversiones ab extremo cor- 
trarias f^it, quarum in intervallo tum quasi tristitia 
quadam contrahit terram, tum vicissim laetificat ut 

103 cum caelo hilarata videatur. Luna autem, quae est, 
ut ostendunt mathematici, maior quam dimidia pars 
terrae, isdem spatiis vagatur quibus sol, sed tum 
congrediens cum sole tum digrediens et eam lucem 
quam a sole accepit mittit in terras et varias ipsa 

^ spiritu det. : spiritus. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xxxix.— xl. 

the depths, some floating and swimming on the siir- 
face, some clinging in their own shells to the rocks ! 
And the sea itself, yearning for the earth, sports 
against her shores in such a fashion that the two 

101 elements appear to be fused into one. Next the air 
bordering on the sea undergoes the alternations of 
day and night, and now rises upward melted and 
rarefied, now is condensed and compressed into clouds 
and gathering moisture enriches the earth with rain, 
now flows forth in currents to and fro and produces 
winds. Likewise it causes the yearly variations of 
cold and heat, and it also both supports the flight of 
birds and inhaled by breathing nourishes and sustains 

the animal race. XL. There remains the element The sun, 
that is most distant and highest removed from our pianete!^ 
abodes, the all-engirdUng, all-confining circuit of the 
sky, also named the aether, the farthest coast and 
frontier of the world, wherein those fiery shapes most 

102 marvellously trace out their ordered courses. Of 
these the sun, which many times surpasses the earth 
in magnitude, revolves about her, and by his rising 
and setting causes day and night, and now approach- 
ing, then again retiring, twice each year makes re- 
turns in opposite directions from his farthest point, 
and in the period of those returns at one time causes 
the face of the earth as it were to contract with a 
gloomy frown, and at another restores her to gladness 
till she seems to smile in sympathy with the sky. 

103 Again the moon, w^hich is, as the mathematicians 
(prove, more than half the size of the earth, roams in 
the same courses as the sun, but at one time converg- 
ing with the sun and at another diverging from it, 
both bestows upon the earth the hght that it has 
borrowed from the sun and itself undergoes divers 

I 221 


lucis mutationes habet, atque etiam tum subieeta 
atque opposita soli radios eius et lumen obscurat, timi 
ipsa incidens in umbram terrae, cum est e regione 
solis, interpositu interiectuque terrae repente deficit. 
Isdemque spatiis eae stellae quas vagas dicimus cir- 
cum terram feruntur eodemque modo oriuntur et occi- 
dunt, quarum motus tum incitantur, tum retardantur, 

104 saepe etiam insistunt. Quo spectaculo nihil potest 
admirabiHus esse, nihil pulchrius. Sequitur stellarum 
inerrantium maxima multitudo, quarum ita discripta 
distinctio est ut ex notarum figurarum similitudine 
nomina invenerint."^ XLI. Atque hoc loco me 
intuens : " Utar," inquit, " carminibus Arateis, quae a 
te admodum adulescentulo conversa ita me delectant 
quia Latina sunt ut multa ex iis memoria teneam. 
Ergo, ut ocuUs adsidue videmus, sine uUa mutatione 
aut varietate 

cetera labuntur celeri caelestia motu 

cum caeloque simul noctesque diesque fenintur, 

105 quorum contemplatione nuUius expleri potest animus 
naturae constantiam videre cupientis ; 

extremusque adeo duplici de cardine vertex 
dicitur^sse polus. 

Hunc circum Arctoe duae feruntur numquam occi- 
dentes ; 

ex his altera apud Graios Cynosura vocatur, 
altera dicitur esse Hehce, 

1 huc c. xliii. init. atque ita . . , appareat Mayor trans- 

" Aratus of SoU in Cilicia, Jl. late 3rd cent. b.c. at the 
Macedonian court, versified the astronomy of Plato's pupil 
Eudoxus, and weather-forecasts, in two pocms, Phaenomena 
and Diosemeia. Of Cicero's translation of the former two- 
tliirds, of the latter {Prognostica) a few lines survive. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xl.— xli. 

changes of its light, and also at one time is in con- 
junction and hides the sun, darkening the hght of its 
rays, at another itself comes into the shadow of the 
earth, being opposite to the sun, and owing to the 
interposition and interference of the earth is sud- 
denly extinguished. And the so-called wandering 
stars (planets) travel in the same courses round the 
earth, and rise and set in the same way, with motions 
now accelerated, now retarded, and sometimes even 

104 ceasing altogether. Nothing can be more marvellous 

or more beautiful than this spectacle. Next comes The con- 
the vast multitude of the fixed stars, grouped in con- steiiations. 
stellations so clearly defined that they have received 
names derived from their resemblance to familiar 
objects." XLI. Here he looked at me and said, " I 
\yill make use of the poems of Aratus,° as translated 
by yourself when quite a young man, which because 
of their Latin dress give me such pleasure that I 
retain many of them in memory. Well then, as we 
continually see with our own eyes, without any change 
or variation 

Swiftly the other heavenly bodies glide, 
All day and night travelling with the sky, 

105 and no one who loves to contemplate the uniformity 
of nature can ever be tired of gazing at them. 

The furthest tip of either axle-end 
Is called the pole. 

Round the pole circle the two Bears, which never set ; 

One of these twain the Greeks call Cynosure,* 
The other Helice " is named ; 

* ' Dog's tail,' perhaps the curve of the thrce stars. 
• 'The spiral,' perhaps of its motion round the pole. 



cuius quidem clarissimas stellas totis noctibus cer- 

quas nostri Septem soliti vocitare Triones ; 

106 paribusque^ stellis similiter distinctis eundem caeli 
verticem lustrat parva Cynosura : 

hac fidunt duce nocturna Phoenices in alto ; 
sed prior illa magis stellis distincta refulget 
et late prima confestim a nocte videtur, 
haec vero parva est, sed nautis usus in hac est, 
nam cursu interiore brevi convertitur orbe. 

XLII. Et quo sit earum stellarum admirabilior 


has inter, veluti rapido cum gurgite flumen, 
torvus Draco serpit subter superaque revolvens 
sese couficiensque sinus e corpore flexos. 

107 Eius cum totius est praeclara species, <tum>2 in primis 
aspicienda est figura capitis atque ardor oculorum : 

huic non una modo caput ornans stella relucet, 
verum tempora sunt duplici fulgore notata 
e trucibusque oculis duo fervida lumina flagrant 
atque uno mentnm radianti sidere lucet ; 
obstipum caput at tereti cervice reflexum 
obtutum in cauda maioris figere dicas. 

108 Et reliquum quidem corpus Draconis totis noctibus 
cernimus : ^ 

hoc caput hic paulum sese subito aequore condit,^ 
ortus ubi atque obitus partem* admiscetur in unam.* 

Id autem caput 

attingens defessa velut maerentis imago 

^ propiusque ? Plasherg. * add. Manutius. 

• subito aequore condit Grotius : subitoque recondit. 

* partem det. : partim A, B, parti Cochanovius. 

^ unam H. Stephanus : una. 

* Said to mean ' threshing-oxen.' 


DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xli.— xlii. 

and the latter's extremely bright stars, visible to U3 
all night long, 

Our countrymen the Seven Triones" call ; 

.06 and the httle Cynosure consists of an cqual number 
of stars similarly grouped, and revolves round the 
same pole : 

Phoenician sailors place in this their trust 
To guide their course by night ; albeit the other 
Shines out before and with more radiant stars 
At earhest night-fall far and wide is seen, 
Yet small though this one is, the mariner 
On this reUes, since it revolves upon 
An inner circle and a shorter path. 

XLII. Also the further to enhance the beauty of 
those constellations, 

Bctween them, like a river flowing swift, 

The fierce-eyed Serpent winds ; in sinuous coils 

Over and under twines his snaky frame. 

07 His whole appearance is very remarkable, but the 
most striking part of him is the shape of his head and 
the brilhance of his eyes : 

No single shining star his head adorns, 
His brows are by a double radiance marked, 
And from his cruel eyes two Ughts flash out, 
The while his chin gleams with one flashing star ; 
His graceful neck is bent, his head recUned, 
As if at gaze upon the Great Bear's tail. 

108 And while the rest of the Serpent's body is visible all 
night long, 

This head a moment sinks beneath the sea, 
Where meet its setting and its rise in one. 

Next to its head however 

The weary figure of a man in sorrow 



quam quidem Graeci 

Engonasin vocitant, genibus quia nixa feratur. 
hic illa eximio posita est fulgore Corona. 

Atque haec quidem a tergo, propter caput autem 

109 quem claro perhibent Ophiuchum nomine Graii. 
hic pressu duplici palmarum continet Anguem, 
atque eius ipse manet reHgatus corpore torto, 
namque virum medium serpens sub pectora cingit. 
ille tamen nitens graviter vestigia ponit 

atque oculos urguet pedibus pectusque Nepai. 

Septentriones autem sequitur 

Arctophylax, vulgo qui dicitur esse Bootes, 

quod quasi temoni adiunctam prae se quatit Arctunu 

110 Dein quae sequuntur^ : huic enim^ Booti 

subter praecordia fixa videtur 
stella micans radiis, Arcturus nomine claro, 

cuius <pedibus>3 subiecta fertur 

spicum inlustre tenens splendenti corpore Virgo. 

XLIII. Atque ita dimetata signa sunt ut in tantis 

discriptionibus divina sollertia appareat* : 
et natos Geminos invises sub caput Arcti, 
subiectus mediae est Cancer, pedibusque tenetur 
magnus Leo tremulam quatiens e corpore flammam. 

Auriga ^ 

sub laeva Geminorum obductus parte feretur ; 
adversum caput huic Hehcae truculenta tuetur, 
at Capra laevum umerum clara obtinet. 

[Tum quae sequuntur \f 

verum haec est magno atque inlustri praedita signo^ 
contra Haedi exiguum iaciunt mortahbus ignem. 

^ dein . . . sequuntur Mayor tr. post Virgo infra. 
' enim 07Ji. Mayor. ' add. Davies. 

• atque . . . appareat Mayor in c. xl.fin. tr. * Heindorf, 

■ Perhaps the harvest began under this sign. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xlii.— xliii. 

which the Greeks 

Engonasin call, as travelling "on his knees." 
Here is the Crown, of radiance supreme. 

This is in the rear of the Serpent, while at its head is 
the Serpent-holder, 

109 By Greeks called Ophiuchiis, famous name ! 

Firm between both his hands he " holds the Snake,'* 

Himself in bondage by its body held, 

For serpent round the waist engirdles man. 

Yet treads he firm and presses all his weight, 

Trampling upon the Scorpion's eyes and breast. 

After the Septentriones comes 

The Bear-ward, commonly Bootes called, 
Because he drives the Bear yoked to a pole. 

110 And then the following Hnes : for with this Bootes 

beneath his bosom fixed appears 
A ghttering star, Arcturus, famous name, 

and below his feet moves 

The Virgin bright, holding her ear of corn • 

XLIII. And the constellations are so accurately 
spaced out that their vast and ordered array clearly 
displays the skill of a divine creator ; 

By the Bear's head you will descry the Twins, 
Beneath its belly the Crab, and in its claws 
The Lion's bulk emits a twinkhng ray. 

The Charioteer 

Hidden beneath the Twins' left flank will ghde^ 

Him Helice confronts with aspect fierce ; 

At his left shoulder the bright She-goat stands. 

[And then the following :] 

A constellation vast and brilliant she, 
Whereas the Kids emit a scanty light 
Upon mankind. 



Cuius sub pedibus 

corniger est valido conixus^ corpore Taurus. 

111 Eius caput stellis conspersum est frequentibus : 

has Graeci stellas Hyadas vocitare suerunt, 
a pluendo (red' enim est pluere), nostri imperite 
Suculas. quasi a subus essent, non ab imbribus nomi- 
natae. Minorem autem Septentrionem Cepheus 
passis palmis a tergo^ subsequitur : 

namque ipsum ad tergum Cynosurae vertitur ArctL 
Hunc antecedit 

obscura specie stellarum Cassiepia. 
hanc autem inlustri versatur corpore propter 
Andromeda aufugiens aspectum maesta parentis. 
huic Equus ille iubam quatiens fulgore micanti 
summum contingit caput alvo, stellaque iungens 
una tenet duplices communi lumine formas 
aeternum ex astris cupiens conectere nodum. 
exin contortis Aries cura cornibus haeret ; 

quem propter 

Pisces, quorum alter paulum praelabitur ante 
et magis horriferis Aquilonis tangitur auris. 

112 XLIV. Ad pedes Andromedae Perseus describitur, 

quem summa <a>^ regione aquilonis flamina pulsant; 

pTopter laevum genus* omni ex parte locatas 

parvas^ Vergilias tenui cum luce videbis. 

inde Fides posita et leviter convexa videtur, 

inde est ales Avis lato sub tegmine caeli. 
Capiti autem Equi proxima est Aquarii dextra totus- 
que deinceps Aquarius. 

1 connixus dett. : conexus A, B. 

2 terga A, B, <post> terga Plasberg. 

• Baiter : ab B corr. * genus B corr. : genum. 

^ omni . . . parvas B corr. : om. cett, 

• See above, § 105. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xHii.— xliv. 

Beneath her feet 

Crouches the horn6d Bull, a mighty frame. 

1 His head is bespangled with a multitude of stars : 

The Greeks were wont to call them Hyades, 

from their bringing rain, the Greek for which is hyein, 
while our nation stupidly names them the Sucking- 
pigs, as though the name Hyades were derived from 
the word for ' pig ' and not from ' rain.' Behind the 
Lesser Septentrio follows Cepheus, with open hands 
outstretched ; 

For close behind the Bear, the Cynosure,* 
He wheels. 

Before him comes 

Cassiepia with her darkUng stars, 

And next to her roams a bright shape, the sad 

Andromeda, shunning her mother's sight. 

The belly of the Horse touches her head, 

Proudly he tosses high his ghttering mane ; 

One common star holds thcir twin shapes conjoint 

And constellations Hnked indissohibly. 

Close by them stands the Ram with wreathed horns ) 

and next to him 

The Fishes ghding, one some space in front 

And nearer to the North Wind's shuddering breath. 

2 XLIV. At the feet of Andromeda Perseus is outhned, 

Assailed by all the zenith's northern blasts : 

and by him 

at his left knee placed on every side 
The tiny l^k'iads dim you will descry. 
And, slightly sloping, next the Lyre is seen, 
Next the winged Bird 'neath heaven's wide canopy. 

Close to the Horse's head is the right hand of 
AquariuSj and then his whole figure. 



tum gelidum valido de pectore frigus anhelans 
corpore semifero magno Capricornus in orbe ; 
quem cum perpetuo vestivit lumine Titan, 
brumali flectens contorquet tempore currum. 

113 Hic autem aspicitur 

ut sese ostendens emergit Scorpios alte 
posteriore trahens plexum^ vi corporis Arcum, 
quem propter nitens pinnis convolvitur Ales, 
at propter se Aquila ardenti cum corpore portat. 

Deinde Delphinus, 

exinde Orion obliquo corpore nitens. 

114 Quem subsequens 

fervidus ille Canis stellarum luce refulget. 

Post Lepus subsequitur, 

curriculum numquam defesso corpore sedans ; 
at Canis ad caudam serpens prolabitur Argo. 
hanc Aries tegit et squamoso corpore Pisces 
Fluminis inlustri tangentem corpore^ ripas. 

Quem longe serpentem et manantem aspicies, 

proceraque Vincla videbis, 
quae retinent Pisces caudarum a parte locata . • • 
inde Nepae cernes propter fulgentis acumen 
Aram, quam flatu permulcet spiritus Austri. 

Propte#que Centaurus 

cedit Equi partis properans subiungere CheHs. 
hic dextram porgens, quadrupes qua vasta tenetur, 
tendit et inlustrem truculentus cedit ad Aram ; 
hic sese infernis e partibus erigit Hydra, 

cuius longe corpus est fusum, 

in medioque sinu fulgens Cratera relucet, 
extremam nitens plumato corpore Corvus 
rostro tundit ; et hic Geminis est ille sub ipsis 
Ante-Canem,' UpoKviop Graio qui nomine fertur. 

* flexum A corr., B corr. ^ pectore Heinsius, 

3 Antecanis Lamlinus. 



Next in the mighty zone comes Capricorn, 
Half-brute, half-man ; his mip:hty bosom breathes 
An icy chill ; and when the Titan sun 
Arrayeth him with never-ceasinja: light, 
He turns his car to climb the wintry sky. 

113 Here we behold 

How there appears the Scorpion rising high, 
His mighty tail traiUng the bended Bow ; 
Near which on soaring pinions wheels the Bird 
And near to this the burning Eagle flies. 

Then the Dolphin, 

And then Orion slopes his stooping frame. 

114 Following him 

The glowing Dog-star radiantly shines. 

After this follows the Hare. 

Who never resteth weary from her race ; 

At the Dog's tail meandering Argo ghdes. 

Her the Ram covers, and the scaly Fishes, 

And her bright breast touches the River's " banks. 

Its long winding current you will observe, 

And in the zenith you will see the Chains 
That bind the Fishes, hanging at their tails. . . . 
Then you'll descry, near the bright Scorpion's sting, 
The Altar, fanned by Auster's gentle breath. 

And by it the Centaur 

Proceeds, in haste to join the Horse's parts 
Unto the Claws ; extending his right hand, 
That grasps the mighty beast, he marches on 
And grimly strides towards the Altar bright. 
Here Hydra rises from the nether realms, 

her body Midely outstretched ; 

And in her midmost coil the Wine-bowl gleams, 
While pressing at her tail the feathered Crow 
Pecks with his beak ; and here, hard by the Twins, 
The Hound's Forerunner, in Greek named Prokyon. 

• Called Eridanus, and identified with the Po or the Nile. 



115 Haec omnis discriptio siderum atque hic tantus caeli 
ornatus ex corporibus huc et illuc casu et temere 
cursantibus potuisse effici cuiquam sano videri potest ? 
an^ vero alia quae natura mentis et rationis expers 
haec efficere potuit? quae non modo ut fierent ratione 
eguerunt sed intellegi quaUa sint sine summa ratione 
non possunt. 

XLV. " Nec vero haec solum admirabiha, sed 
nihil maius quam quod ita stabihs est mundus atque 
ita cohaeret, ad pei-manendum ut nihil ne excogi- 
tari quidem possit aptius, Omnes enim partes eius 
undique medium locum capessentes nituntur aequa- 
hter. Maxime autem corpora inter se iuncta per- 
manent cum quasi quodam vinculo circumdato colh- 
gantur ; quod facit ea natura quae per omnem 
mundum omnia mente et ratione conficiens funditur 

116 et ad medium rapit et convertit extrema. Quocirca 
si mundus globosus est ob eamque causam omnes 
eius partes undique aequabiles ipsae per se atque 
inter se continentur, contingere idem terrae necesse 
est, ut omnibus eius partibus in medium vergentibus 
(id autem medium infimum in sphaera est) nihil 
interrumpat quo labefactari possit tanta contentio 
gravitatis et ponderum. Eademque ratione mare, 
cum supra terram sit, medium tamen terrae locum 
expetens conglobatur undique aequabihter neque 

117 redundat umquam neque effunditur. Huic autem 
continens aer fertur ille quidem levitate subhmis,* 
sed tamen in omnes partes se ipse fundit ; itaque 

^ an G, aiat cfitt. 
" sublimis i?, suhlimi cett., sublime Orellu 


DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xliv.— xlv. 

115 Can any sane person believe that all this array of stars 
and this vast celestial adornment could have bcen 
created out of atoms rushing to and fro fortuitously 
and at random ? or could any other being devoid of 
intelligence and reason have created them ? Not 
merely did their creation postulate intelHgence, but 
it is impossible to understand their nature without 
intelligence of a high order. 

XLV. " But not only are these things marvellous, The worfd 
but nothing is more remarkable than the stabihty part.fheld 
and coherence of the world, which is such that it is together 
impossible even to imagine anything better adapted petaiforca. 
to endure. For all its parts in every direction gravi- 
tate with a uniform pressure towards the centre. 
Moreover bodies conjoined maintain their union most 
permanently when they have some bond encompass- 
ing them to bind them together ; and this function is 
fulfilled by that rational and intelHgent substance 
which pervades the whole world as the efhcient cause 
of all things and which draws and collects the outer- 

116 most particles towards the centre. Hence if the world 
is round and therefore all its parts are held together 
by and with each other in universal equiUbrium, the 
same must be the case with the earth, so that all its 
parts must converge towards the centre (which in a 
sphere is the lowest point) without anything to break 
the continuity and so threaten its vast complex of 
gravitational forces and masses with dissolution. And 
on the same principle the sea, although above the 
earth, nevertheless seeks the earth's centre and so is 
massed into a sphere uniform on all sides, and never 

117 floods its bounds and overflows. Its neighbour the 
air travels upward it is true in virtue of its hghtness, 
but at the same time spreads horizontally in all 



et mari continuatus et iunctus est et natura fertur ad 
caelum, cuius tenuitate et calore temperatus vitalem 
et salutarem spiritum praebet animantibus. Quem 
complexa summa pars caeli, quae aetheria dicitur, et 
suum retinet ardorem tenuem et nuUa admixtione 
concretum et cum aeris extremitate coniungitur. 
XLVI. In aethere autem astra volvuntur, quae se 
et nisu suo conglobata continent et forma ipsa 
figuraque sua momenta sustentant ; sunt enim 
rotunda, quibus formis, ut ante dixisse videor, 
118 minime noceri potest. Sunt autem stellae natura 
flanmieae, quocirca terrae maris aquarum^ vaporibus 
aluntur iis qui a sole ex agris tepefactis et ex aquis 
excitantur ; quibus altae renovataeque stellae atque 
omnis aether refundunt eadem et rursum trahunt 
indidem, nihil ut fere intereat aut admodum paululum 
quod astrorum ignis et aetheris flamma consumit. 
Ex quo eventurum nostri putant id de quo Panaetium 
addubixare dicebant, ut ad extremum omnis mundus 
ignesceret, cum umore consumpto neque terra ali 
posset nec remearet aer, cuius ortus aqua omni 
exhausta esse non posset ; ita rehnqui nihil praeter 
ignem, a quo rursum animante ac deo renovatio 

* aquarumque reliquarum Probus^ Pldsherg. 

• See § 47. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xlv.— xlvi. 

directions ; and thus while contiguous and conjoined 
vdih the sea it has a natural tendency to rise to the 
sky, and by receiving an admixture of the sky's tenu- 
ity and heat furnishes to H\-ing creatures the breath 
of hfe and health. The air is enfolded by the highest 
part of the sky, termed the ethereal part ; this both 
retains its own tenuous warmth uncongealed by any 
admixture and unites with the outer surface of the 
air. XLVI. In the aether the stars revolve in their 
courses ; these maintain their spherical form by their 
ovm. internal gravitation, and also sustain their 
motions by ^irtue of their very shape and conforma- 
tion ; for they are round, and this is the shape, as I 
beheve I remarked before,'* that is least capable of 
118 recei-ving injury. But the stars are of a fiery sub- 
stance, and for this reason they are nourished by the 
vapours of the earth, the sea and the waters, which 
are raised up by the sun out of the fields which it 
warms and out of the waters ; and when nourished 
and renewed by these vapours the stars and the whcle 
aether shed them back again, and then once more 
draw them up from the same source, with the loss of 
none of their matter, or only of an extremely small 
part which is consumed by the fire of the stars and 
the flame of the aether. x\s a consequence of this, me cyciicai 
so our school beheve, though it used to be said that ofth^/S^uJ 
Panaetius questioned the doctrine, there will ulti- 
mately occur a conflagration of the whole world, be- 
cause when the moisture has been used up neither 
can the earth be nourished nor vdW the air continue 
to flow, being unable to rise upward after it has drunk 
up all the water ; thus nothing \vi\\ remain but fire, 
by which, as a h\-ing being and a god, once again a 
new world may be created and the ordered universe 



119 mundi fieret atque idem ornatus oreretur. Nolo 
in stellarum ratione multus vobis videri, maxime- 
que earum quae errare dicuntur ; quarum tantus 
est concentus ex dissimillimis motibus ut, cum 
summa Saturni refrigeret, media Martis incendat, 
his interiecta lovis inlustret et temperet infraque 
Martem duae soli oboediant, ipse sol mundum 
omnem sua luce compleat ab eoque luna inluminata 
graviditates et partus adferat maturitatesque gi- 
gnendi. Quae copulatio rerum et quasi consentiens 
ad mundi incolumitatem coagmentatio naturae 
quem non movet, hunc horum nihil imiquam reputa- 
visse certo scio. 

120 XLVII. " Age ut a caelestibus rebus ad terrestres 
veniamus, quid est in his in quo non naturae ratio 
intellegentis appareat ? Principio eorum quae gi- 
gnuntur e terra stirpes et stabilitatem dant iis 
quae sustinent et e terra sucum trahunt quo alantur 
ea quae radicibus continentur ; obducunturque libro 
aut cortice trunci quo sint a frigoribus et caloribus 
tutiores. lam vero vites sic claviculis adminicula 
tamq«am manibus adprehendunt atque ita se 
erigunt ut animantes. Quin etiam a cauhbus,^ 
si propter sati sint, ut a pestiferis et nocentibus 
refugere dicuntur nec eos ulla ex parte contingere. 

121 Animantium vero quanta varietas est, quanta 
ad eam rem vis ut in suo quaeque genere per- 
maneat ! Quarum aliae coriis tectae sunt ahae villis 
vestitae ahae spinis hirsutae ; pluma alias alias 

^ caulibus det. i caulibus brassicis A, B, a, brassicae 


DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xl^i.— xlvii. 

119 be restored as before. I would not have you think Co-operatioK 
that I dwell too long upon astronomy, and particu- pianete. 
larly upon the system of the stars called planets ; 

these with the most diverse movements work in such 
mutual harmony that the uppermost, that of Saturn, 
has a coohng influence, the middle planet, that of 
Mars, imparts heat, the one between them, that of 
Jove, gives hght and a moderate warmth, while the 
two beneath Mars obey the sun, and the sun itself 
fills all the world with light, and also illuminates the 
moon, which is the source of conception and birth 
and of gro^vth and maturity. If any man is not 
impressed by this co-ordination of things and this 
harmonious combination of nature to secure the pre^ 
servation of the world, I know for certain that he has 
never given any consideration to these matters. 

120 XLVII. " To come now from things celestial to The wonders 
things terrestrial, which is there among these latter ufe!^^^^ ^^ 
which does not clearly display the rational design of 

an inteUigent being ? In the first place, with the 
vegetation that springs from the earth, the stocks 
both give stability to the parts which they sustain 
and draw from the ground the sap to nourish the 
parts upheld by the roots ; and the trunks are covered 
with bark or rind, the better to protect them against 
cold and heat. Again the vines cUng to their props 
with their tendrils as with hands, and thus raise them- 
selves erect Hke animals. Nay more, it is said that if 
planted near cabbages they shun them hke pestilential 
and noxious things, and will not touch them at any Thewonders 

121 point. Again what a variety there is of animals, lifer^/t^ 
and what capacity they possess of persisting true to ?or^fhe^'°° 
their various kinds ! Some of them are protected preservation 
by hides, others are clothed with fleeces, others bristle hldiiidQai. 



squama \ademus obductas, alias esse cornibus arma- 
tas, alias habere efFugia pinnarum. Pastum autem 
animantibus large et copiose natura eum qui cuique 
aptus erat comparaiit. Enumerare possum ad 
eum pastum capessendum conficiendumque quae 
sit in figuris animantium et quam sollers subtilisque 
discriptio partium quamque admirabilis fabrica 
membrorum. Omnia enim, quae quidem intus 
inclusa sunt, ita nata atque ita locata sunt ut nihil 
eorum supervacaneum sit, nihil ad vitam retinendam 

122 non necessarium. Dedit autem eadem natura beluis 
et sensum et appetitum, ut altero conatum haberent 
ad naturales pastus capessendos, altero secemerent 
pestifera a salutaribus. lam vero aUa animalia gra- 
diendo aUa serpendo ad pastum accedunt, aha volando 
aha nando, cibumque partim oris hiatu et dentibus 
ipsis capessunt, partim unguium tenacitate arri- 
piunt, partim aduncitate rostrorum, alia sugunt 
aha carpunt aha vorant aUa mandunt. Atque etiam 
ahoriim ea est humilitas ut cibum terrestrem rostris 

123 facile contingant ; quae autem altiora sunt, ut 
anseres ut cygni ut grues ut cameh, adiuvantur 
proceritate coUorum ; manus etiam data elephanto 
est, quia propter magnitudinem corporis difficiles 
aditus habebat ad pastum. XLVIII. At quibus be- 
stiis erat is cibus ut aUus^ generis bestiis^ vesceren- 
tur, aut vires natura dedit aut celeritatem. Data est 

^ alius det. : aliis. 
• bestiis dett. : escis J, B (animalis generis escis ? Plasberg), 


DE NATURA DEORUM, 11. xlvii.— xlviii. 

with spines ; some we see covered with feathers, 
some Mith scales, some armed Mith horns, some 
equipped with wings to escape their foes. Nature, 
however, has provided -v^ith bounteous plenty for 
each species of animal that food which is suited to it. 
I might show in detail what provision has been made 
in the forms of the animals for appropriating and 
assimilating this food, how skilful and exact is the 
disposition of the various parts, how marvellous the 
structure of the hmbs. For all the organs, at least 
those contained within the body, are so formed and so 
placed that none of them is superfluous or not neces- 

22 sary for the preservation of Hfe. But nature has also 
bestowed upon the beasts both sensation and desire, 
the one to arouse in them the impulse to appropriate 
their natural foods, the other to enable them to 
distinguish things harmful from things wholesome. 
Again, some animals approach their food by walking, 
some by crawling, some by flying, some by s^vimming ; 
and some seize their nutriment with their gaping 
mouth and ^\ith the teeth themselves, others snatch 
it in the grasp of their claws, others with their curved 
beaks, some suck, others graze, some swallow it 
whole, others chew it. Also some are of such lowly 
stature that they easily reach their food upon the 

23 ground ^\-ith their jaws ; whereas the taller species, 
such as geese, swans, cranes and camels, are aided 
by the length of their necks ; the elephant is 
even provided ^^ith a hand, because his body is so 
large that it was difficult for him to reach his food. 
XLVIII. Those beasts on the other hand whose 
mode of sustenance was to feed on animals of 
another species received from nature the gift either 
of strength or swiftness. Upon certain creatures 



quibusdam etiam machinatio quaedam atque soller- 
tia, ut in araneolis aliae quasi rete texunt, ut si quid 
inhaeserit conficiant, aliae autem ut^ . . . ex inopinato 
observant et si quid incidit arripiunt idque con- 
sumunt. Pina vero (sic enim Graece dicitur) duabus 
grandibus patula conchis cum parva squilla quasi 
societatem coit comparandi cibi, itaque cum piscicuh 
par\i in concham hiantem innataverunt, tum ad- 
monita <a>* squilla^ pina morsu* comprimit conchas ; 
sic dissimiUimis bestioHs communiter cibus quaeritur. 
124 In quo admirandum est congressune ahquo inter se 
an iam inde ab ortu natura ipsa congregatae sint. 
Est etiam admiratio non nulla in bestiis aquatihbus 
iis quae gignuntur in terra : veluti crocodih fluvia- 
tilesque testudines quaedamque serpentes ortae 
extra aquam simul ac primum niti possunt aquam 
persequuntur. Quin etiam anitum ova gaUinis 
saepe supponimus, e quibus pulh orti primo aluntur 
ab iis ut a matribus a quibus exclusi fotique sunt, 
deinde eas rehnquunt et efFugiunt sequentes, cum 
primum aquam quasi naturalem domum \idere 
potuerunt : tantam ingenuit animantibus conser- 
van^i sui natura custodiam. XLIX. Legi etiam 
scriptum esse avem quandam quae platalea nomi- 
naretur ; eam sibi cibum quaerere advolantem ad 
eas avis quae se in mari mergerent, quae cum emer- 
sissent piscemque cepissent, usque eo premere earum 
capita mordicus dum ihae captum amitterent, in quod 

^ ut om, det. : lacunam mdicavit Mayor. 
■ <a> add. det. ' squillae ed. vet. 

* morsus mss. : squillae morsu pina Heindorf. 

* A variant gives " the shrimp draws the attention of the 
iiiussel by giving: it a nip, and the mussel shuts up its shells." 
" Aristotle, Hi;it. An. ix. 10. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xlviii.— xlix. 

there was bestowed even a sort of craft or cun- 
ning : for instance, one species of the spider tribe 
weaves a kind of net, in order to dispatch anything 
that is caught in it ; another in order to . . . 
stealthily keeps watch, and, snatching anything that 
falls into it, devours it. The mussel, or pina as it is 
called in Greek, is a large bivalve which enters into 
a sort of partnership with the tiny shrimp to procure 
food, and so, when little fishes swim into the gaping 
shell. the shrimp draws the attention of the mussel 
and the mussel shuts up its shells with a snap " ; thus 
two very dissimilar creatures obtain their food in 
124 common. In this case we are curious to know whether 
their association is due to a sort of mutual compact, or 
whether it was brought about by nature herself and 
goes back to the moment of their birth. Our wonder 
is also considerably excited by those aquatic animals 
which are born on land — crocodiles, for instance, and 
water-tortoises and certain snakes, Mhich are born 
on dry land but as soon as they can first crawl make 
for the water. Again we often place ducks' eggs 
beneath hens, and the chicks that spring from the 
eggs are at first fed and mothered by the hens that 
hatched and reared them, but later on they leave 
their foster-mothers, and run away when they pursue 
them, as soon as they have had an opportunity of 
seeing the water, their natural home. So powerful 
an instinct of self-preservation has nature implanted 
in living creatures. XLIX. I have even read in a 
book ^ that there is a bird called the spoonbill, which 
procures its food by flying after those birds which 
dive in the sea, and upon their coming to the surface 
with a fish that they have caught, pressing their heads 
down with its beak until they drop their prey, which 



ipsa invaderet. Eademque haec avis scribitur con- 
chis se solere complere easque cum stomachi calore 
concoxerit evomere, atque ita eligere ex iis quae sunt^ 

125 esculenta. Ranae autem marinae dicuntur obruere 
sese harena solere et moveri prope aquam, ad quas 
quasi ad escam pisces cum accesserint confici a ranis 
atque consumi. Miluo est quoddam bellum quasi 
naturale cum corvo ; ergo alter alterius ubicumque 
nanctus est ova frangit. Illud vero (ab Aristotele 
animadversum a quo pleraque) quis potest non 
mirari, grues cum loca calidiora petentes maria 
transmittant trianguH efficere formam ? eius autem 
summo angulo aer ab iis adversus pelhtur, deinde 
sensim ab utroque latere tamquam remis ita pinnis 
cursus a\aum levatur ; basis autem trianguh, quem^ 
efficiunt grues, ea tamquam a puppi ventis adiuvatur ; 
eaeque in tergo praevolantium colla et capita 
reponunt ; quod quia ipse dux facere non potest, 
quia noh habet ubi nitatur, revolat ut ipse quoque 
quiescat, in eius locum succedit ex iis quae adquie- 
runt, eaque vicissitudo in omni cursu conservatur. 

126 Multa eius modi proferre possum, sed genus ipsum 
videtis. lam vero illa etiam notiora, quanto se opere 
custodiant bestiae, ut in pastu circumspectent, ut in 
cubiUbus dehtiscant. L. Atque illa mirabiha, 
quod — ea quae nuper, id est paucis ante saecHs,^ 

^ sint Ernesti. 
* quem dett. : quam. ^ id . . . saeclis secl. Cohet. 

" Cicero seems to have omitted or misunderstood some- 
thing in Aristotle ; the passage quoted is not in his extant 
works. Pliny, N.H. x. 63, tells the same thing of wild 
geese and swans, saying a tergo sensim dilatante se cuneo 
fiorrigitur agmen, ' the column widens out at the rear with 
the gradual broadening of the wedge.' 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. xlix.— 1. 

it poiinces on for itself. It is also recorded of this bird 
that it is in the habit of gorging itself with shell-fish, 
which it digests by means of the heat of its stomach 
and then brings up again, and so picks out from them 

125 the parts that are good to eat. Sea-frogs again are 
said to be in the habit of covering themselves with 
sand and creeping along at the water's edge, and 
then when fishes approach them thinking they are 
something to eat, these are killed and devoured by 
the frogs. The kite and the crow live in a state of 
natural war as it were with one another, and there- 
fore each destroys the other's eggs wherever it finds 
them. Another fact (observed by Aristotle, from 
whom most of these cases are cited) cannot but 
awaken our surprise, namely that cranes when cross- 
ing the seas on the way to warmer cHmates fly in a 
triangular formation. With the apex of the triangle 
they force aside the air in front of them, and then 
gradually on either side ^ by means of their ^vings 
acting as oars the birds' onward flight is sustained, 
while the base of the triangle formed by the cranes 
gets the assistance of the wind when it is so to speak 
astern. The birds rest their necks and heads on the 
backs of those flying in front of them ; and the leader, 
being himself unable to do this as he has no one to lean 
on, flies to the rear that he himself also may have a 
rest, while one of those already rested takes his place, 

126 and so they keep turns throughout the journey. I 
could adduce a number of similar instances, but you 
see the general idea. Another evenbetterknownclass 
of stories illustrates the precautions taken by animals 
for their security, the watch they keep while feeding, 
their skill in hiding in their lairs. L. Other 
remarkable facts are that dogs cure themselves by 



medicorum ingeniis reperta sunt — vomitione canes, 
purgando^ autem alvo se ibes^ Aegyptiae curant. 
Auditum est pantheras, quae in barbaria venenata 
carne caperentur, remedium quoddam habere quo 
cum essent usae non morerentur, capras autem in 
Creta feras, cum essent confixae venenatis sagittis, 
herbam quaerere quae dictamnus vocaretur, quam 
cum gustavissent sagittas excidere dicunt e corpore. 

127 Cervaeque paulo ante partum perpurgant se quadam 
herbula quae seselis dicitur. lam illa cernimus, ut 
contra vim et metum suis se armis quaeque de- 
fendant cornibus tauri, apri dentibus, morsu leones ; 
aliae fuga se aliae occultatione tutantur, atramenti 
effusione sepiae torpore torpedines, multae etiam in- 
sectantis odoris intolerabili foeditate depellunt. 

LI. " Ut vero perpetuus mundi esset ornatus, magna 
adhibita cura est a providentia deorum ut semper 
essent et bestiarum genera et arborum omnium- 
que rerum quae a terra stirpibus continerentur. Quae 
quidem omnia eam vim seminis habent in se ut ex 
uno plura generentur, idque semen inclusum est in 
intuYna parte earum bacarum quae ex quaque stirpe 
funduntur ; isdemque seminibus et homines adfatim 
vescuntur et terrae eiusdem generis stirpium renova- 

128 tione conplentur. Quid loquar quanta ratio in be- 
stiis ad perpetuam conservationem earum generis 
appareat ? Nam primum ahae mares ahae feminae 
sunt, quod perpetuitatis causa machinata natura est, 

* purgando Plasherg : purgante, purgantes M88. 

• alvo sibis etc. mss. : purgantes autem alvos ibes Ae- 
gyi>liae curantur Madvig, 



vomiting and ibises in Egypt by purging — modes of 
treatment only recently, that is, a few generations 
ago, discovered by the talent of the medical profes- 
sion. It has been reported that panthers, which in 
foreign countries are caught by means of poisoned 
meat, have a remedy which they employ to save 
themselves from dying ; and that ^^ild goats in Crete, 
when pierced with poisoned arrows, seek a herb 
called dittany, and on their swallowing this the 

27 arrows, it is said, drop out of their bodies. Does, 
shortly before giving birth to their young, thoroughly 
purge themselves with a herb called hartwort. 
Again we observe how various species defend them- 
selves against violence and danger with their own 
weapons, bulls with their horns, boars ^vith their 
tusks, hons ^^ith their bite ; some species protect 
themselves by flight, some by hiding, the cuttle-fish 
by emitting an inky fluid, the sting-ray by causing 
cramp, and also a number of creatures drive away 
their pursuers by their insufferably disgusting odour. 

LI. " In order to secure the everlasting duration ihe 
of the world-order, divine providence has made most a^^ai^tation 
careiul provision to ensure the perpetuation oi the aud animai 
famihes of animals and of trees and all the vegetable for the per- 
species. The latter all contain within them seed petuation 
possessing the property of multiplying the species ; ° ^^^^^^- 
this seed is enclosed in the innermost part of the 
fruits that grow from each plant ; and the same seeds 
supply mankind v,-iih an abundance of food, besides 
replenishing the earth with a fresh stock of plants of 

28 the same kind. Why should I speak of the amount 
of rational design displayed in animals to secure the 
perpetual preservation of their kind ? To begin with 
some are male and some female, a device of nature 



deinde partes corporis et ad procreandum et ad con- 
cipiendum aptissimae, et in mare et in femina com- 
miscendorum corporum mirae libidines. Cum autem 
in locis semen insedit, rapit omnem fere cibum ad 
sese eoque saeptum^ fingit animal ; quod cum ex 
utero elapsum excidit, in iis animantibus quae lacte 
aluntur omnis fere cibus matrum lactescere incipit, 
eaque quae paulo ante nata sunt sine magistro duce 
natura mammas appetunt earumque ubertate satu- 
rantur. Atque ut intellegamus nihil horum esse for- 
tuitum et haec omnia esse opera providae sollertisque 
naturae, quae multiplices fetus procreant, ut sues ut 
canes, iis mammarum data est multitudo, quas eas- 
dem paucas habent eae bestiae quae pauca gignunt. 
129 Quid dicam quantus amor bestiarum sit in educandis 
custodiendisque iis quae procreaverunt, usque ad eum 
finem dum possint se ipsa defendere ? etsi pisces, ut 
aiunt, ova cum genuerunt rehnquunt, facile enim illa 
aqua et sustinentur et fetum fundunt. LII. Testu- 
dines autem et crocodilos dicunt, cum in terra partum 
ediderint, obruere ova, deinde discedere ; ita et 
nascuntur et educantur ipsa per sese. lam gaUinae 
avesque reliquae et quietum requirunt ad pariendum 
locum et cubilia sibi nidosque construunt eosque quam 
possunt mollissume substernunt, ut quam facillume 
ova serventur ; e quibus puUos cum excuderunt, ita 
tuentur ut et pinnis foveant ne frigore laedantur et 

^ ex eoque conceptum {vel coeptum) ? Mayor. 

" Perhaps the text should be emended to give, *and 
fashions a living creature conceived therefrom.* 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. li.— lii. 

to perpctuate the species. Then parts of their bodies 
are most skilfully contrived to serve the purposes of 
procreation and of conception, and both male and 
female possess marvellous desires for copulation. 
And when the seed has settled in its place, it draws 
ahiiost all the nutriment to itself and hedged within 
it fashions a h\-ing creature ^ ; w^hen this has been 
dropped from the womb and has emerged, in 
the mammahan species ahnost all the nourishment 
received by the mother turns to milk, and the young 
just born, untaught and by nature's guidance, seek 
for the teats and satisfy their cra^ings \\ith their 
bounty. And to show to us that none of these things 
merely happens by chance and that all are the work 
of nature's providence and skill, species that produce 
large Htters of offspring, such as swine and dogs, have 
bestowed upon them a large number of teats, while 
those animals which bear only a few young have only 
29 a few teats. Why should I describe the affection 
shown by animals in rearing and protecting the ofF- 
spring to which they have given birth, up to the point 
when they are able to defend themselves ? although 
fishes, it is said, abandon their eggs when they have 
laid them, since these easily float and hatch out in 
the water. LII. Turtles and crocodiles are said to 
lay their eggs on land and bury them and then go 
away, leaving their young to hatch and rear them- 
selves. Hens and other birds find a quiet place in 
which to lay, and build themselves nests to sit on, 
covering these with the softest possible bedding in 
order to preserve the eggs most easily ; and when 
they have hatched out their chicks they protect them 
by cherishing them with their wings so that they 
may not be injured by cold, and by shading them 



si est calor a sole se opponant. Cum autem pulli 
pinnulis uti possunt, tum volatus eorum matres 

130 prosequuntur, reliqua cura liberantur. Accedit ad 
non nullorum animantium et earum rerum quas terra 
gignit conservationem et salutem hominum etiam 
sollertia et diligentia. Nam multae et pecudes et 
stirpes sunt quae sine procuratione hominum salvae 
esse non possunt. 

" Magnae etiam opportunitates ad cultum homi- 
num atque abundantiam ahae aliis in locis reperiun- 
tur. Aegvptum Nilus inrigat et, cum tota aestate 
obrutam oppletamque tenuit, tum recedit moUitos- 
que et oblimatos agros ad serendum rehnquit. 
Mesopotamiam fertilem efhcit Euphrates, in quam 
quotannis^ quasi novos agros invehit. Indus vero, 
qui est omnium fluminum maximus, non aqua solum 
agros laetificat et mitigat sed eos etiam conserit ; mag- 
nam enim vim seminum secum frumenti simihum 

131 dicitur deportare. Multaque aha in ahis locis com- 
memorabilia proferre possum, multos fertiles agros 
ahos ahorum fructuum. LIII. Sed iha quanta 
benignitas naturae, quod tam multa ad vescendum, 
tam varia et tam iucunda gignit, neque ea uno 
tempore anni, ut semper et novitate delectemur 
et copia ! Quam tempestivos autem dedit, quam 
salutares non modo hominum sed etiam pecudum 
generi, iis denique omnibus quae oriuntur e terra, 
ventos Etesias ! quorum flatu nimii temperantur 
calores, ab isdem etiam maritimi cursus celeres et 
certi deriguntur. MuUa praetereunda sunt [et 

^ quotannis Rom. : quod annos, quot annos mss. 

° Trade-winds hlowing periodically (Iroy, ' year ') from 
N.-W. and otlier quarters. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. lii.— liii. 

against the heat of the sun. When the young birds 
are able to use their sprouting wings, their mothers 
escort them in their flights, but are released from any 

30 further tendance upon them. Moreover the skill and 
industry of man also contribute to the preservation 
and security of certain animals and plants. For there 
are many species of both which could not survive 
without man's care. 

" Also a plentiful variety of conveniences is found The adapta- 
in different regions for the productive cultivation of J'°jjj.°^^j 
the soil by man. Egypt is watered by the Nile, nature 
which keeps the land completely flooded all the pTeseAation 
summer and afterwards retires leaving the soil soft ^^'^ . 


and covered with mud, in readiness for sowing. ofman. 
Mcsopotamia is fertihzed by the Euphrates, which as 
it were imports into it new fields every year. The 
Indus, the largest river in the world, not only manures 
and softens the soil but actually sows it with seed, for 
it is said to bring down with it a great quantity of seeds 

31 resembhng corn. And I could produce a number of 
other remarkable examples in a variety of places, and 
instance a variety of lands each proUfic in a different 
kind of produce. LIII. But how great is the benevo- 
lence of nature, in giving birth to such an abundance 
and variety of dehcious articles of food, and that not 
at one season only of the year, so that we have con- 
tinually the dehghts of both novelty and plenty ! 
How seasonable moreover and how wholesome not 
for the human race alone but also for the animal 
and the various vegetable species is her gift of the 
Etesian winds " ! their breath modcrates the excessive 
heat of summer, and they also guide our ships across 
the sea upon a s^vift and steady course. Many in- 
stances must be passed over [and yet many are 



132 tamen multa dicuntur].^ Enumerari enim non 
possunt fluminum opportunitates, aestus maritimi 
multumt^ aecedentes et recedentes, montes vestiti 
atque silvestres, salinae ab ora maritima remo- 
tissimae, medicamentorum salutarium plenissimae 
terrae, artes^ denique innumerabiles ad victum et ad 
vitam necessariae. lam diei noctisque ^ncissitudo 
conservat animantes tribuens aliud agendi tempus 
aliud quiescendi. Sic undique omni ratione con- 
cluditur mente consilioque divino omnia in hoc mundo 
ad salutem omnium conservationemque admirabiliter 

133 " Hic* quaeret quispiam, cuiusnam causa tantarum 
rerum molitio facta sit ? Arborumne et herbarum, 
quae quamquam sine sensu sunt tamen a natura sus- 
tinentur ? At id quidem absurdum est. An bestia- 
rum ? Nihilo probabilius deos mutorum^ et nihil 
intellegentium causa tantum laborasse. Quorum 
igitur causa quis dixerit efFectum esse mundum ? 
Eorum scilicet animantium quae ratione utuntur ; 
hi sunt di et homines, quibus profecto nihil est 
melius, ratio est enim quae praestet omnibus. Ita 
fit credibile deorurn et hominum causa factum esse 
mundum quaeque in eo [mundo]^ sint omnia. 

LIV. ** Faciliusque intellegetur a dis inmortalibus 
hominibus esse provisum si erit tota hominis fabricatio 
perspecta omnisque humanae naturae figura atque 

^ secl. Miiller. 

* multumt : <si>mulcum <luna> P/as6(?r^ (cum luna simul 
Alan). 3 utilitates Koch. 

* hic dett., sin A^ B. ^ mutorum Davies: mutarum. 

* [mundo] edd., om. E, L, O. 

" Probably an interpolated note. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. liii.— liv. 

2 given]." For it is impossible to recount the conveni- 
ences afforded by rivers, the ebb and flow * . . . of the 
tides of the sea, the mountains clothed with forests, 
the salt-beds lying far inland from the sea-coast, the 
copious stores of health-giving medicines that the 
earth contains, and all the countless arts necessary 
for Uvehhood and for hfe. Again the alternation of 
day and night contributes to the preservation of 
hving creatures by affording one time for activity and 
another for repose. Thus every hne of reasoning goes 
to prove that all things in this world of ours are mar- 
vellously governed by divine intelhgence and wdsdom 
for the safety and preservation of all. 

3 " Here somebody will ask, for whose sake was all 
this vast system contrived ? For the sake of the trees 
and plants, for these, though without sensation, have 
their sustenance from nature ? But this at any rate 
is absurd. Then for the sake of the animals ? It is 
no more hkely that the gods took all this trouble for 
the sake of dumb, irrational creatures. For whose 
sake then shall one pronounce the world to have been 
created ? Doubtless for the sake of those hving 
beings which have the use of reason ; these are the 
gods and mankind, who assuredly surpass all other 
things in excellence, since the most excellent of all 
things is reason. Thus we are led to beheve that the 
world and all the things that it contains were made 
for the sake of gods and men. 

LIV. " And that man has been cared for by divine Thehand of 
pro^ddence ^vill be more readily understood if we seen inThe 
survey the whole structure of man and all the con- stnicture 

4 formation and perfection of human nature. There are of man: 

* The text may have been corrupted, and may have run 
* ebb and flow with the moon.' 



134 perfectio. Nam cum tribus rebus animantium vita 
teneatur, cibo potione spiritu, ad haec omnia per- 
cipienda os est aptissimum, quod adiunctis naribus 
spiritu augetur. Dentibus autem in ore constructis 
manditur^ atque ab iis^ extenuatur et mollitur cibus. 
Eorum adversi acuti morsu di\adunt escas, intimi 
autem conficiunt qui genuini vocantur, quae confectio 

135 etiam a lingua adiuvari videtur. Linguam autem ad 
radices eius haerens excipit stomachus, quo primum 
inlabuntur ea quae accepta sunt ore. Is utraque ex 
parte tosillas attingens palato extremo atque intimo 
terminatur. Atque is agitatione et motibus hnguae 
cum depulsum et quasi detrusum cibum accepit, 
depeUit : ipsius autem partes eae quae sunt infra 
quam id quod devoratur dilatantur, quae autem supra 

136 contrahuntur. Sed cum aspera arteria — sic enim 
a medicis appellatur — ostium habeat adiunctum 
Hnguae radicibus paulo supra quam ad Hnguam 
stomachus adnectitur, eaque ad pulmones usque 
pertineat excipiatque animam eam quae ducta est 
spiritu, eandemque a pulmonibus respiret et reddat, 
tegitur quodam quasi operculo, quod ob eam causam 
datum est ne si quid in eam cibi forte incidisset 
spiritus impediretur. Sed cum alvi natura subiecta 
stomacho cibi et potionis sit receptaculum, pulmones 
autem et cor extrinsecus spiritum ducant, in alvo 
multa sunt mirabihter eifecta, quae constat fere e 

* mandatur ci. Alan. * ab iis secl. Baiter. 

*• A plausible emendation of the text gives ' Within the 
mouth is the structure of the teeth, to which the food is 
handed over {mandatur) and by which it is divided up and 

^ The Greek tracheia arteria, ' rough artery ' (air-ducta 
and blood-vessels not being distinguished). 


three things requisite for the maintenance of aninial provision 
Hfe, food, drink and breath ; and for the reception of support of 
all of these the mouth is most consummately adapted, |.0Q(j'^^Q(f^ 
receiving as it does an abundant supply of breath air ; 
through the nostrils which communicate with it. 
The structure of the teeth within the mouth serves 
to chew the food, and it is divided up and softened by 
them.° The front teeth are sharp, and bite our viands 
into pieces ; the back teeth, called molars, masticate 
them, the process of mastication apparently being 

\5 assisted also by the tongue. Next to the tongue 
comes the gullet, which is attached to its roots, and 
into which in the first place pass the substances 
that have been received in the mouth. The guUet is 
adjacent to the tonsils on either side of it, and reaches 
as far as the back or innei-most part of the palate. 
The action and movements of the tongue drive and 
thrust the food down into the gullet, which receives 
it and drives it further down, the parts of the gullet 
below the food that is being swallowed dilating and 

}6 the parts above it contracting. The windpipe, or 
trachea ^ as it is termed by physicians, has an orifice 
attached to the roots of the tongue a little above the 
point where the tongue is joined to the gullet ; it 
reaches to the lungs, and receives the air inhaled by 
breathing, and also exhales it and passes it out from 
the lungs ; it is covered by a sort of hd, provided for 
the purpose of preventing a morsel of food from 
accidentally falling into it and impeding the breath. 
Below the gullet lies the stomach, which is constructed 
as the receptacle of food and drink, whereas breath 
is inhaled by the lungs and heart. The stomach per- 
forms a number of remarkable operations ; its struc- 
ture consists principally of muscular fibres, and it is 
K 253 


nervis, est autem multiplex et tortuosa, arcetque et 
continet sive illud aridum est sive umidum quod 
recepit, ut id mutari et concoqui possit, eaque tum 
astringitur tum relaxatur, atque omne quod accepit 
cogit et confundit, ut facile et calore, quem multum 
habet, et terendo cibo et praeterea spiritu omnia 
cocta atque confecta in reliquum corpus dividantur. 
LV. In pulmonibus autem inest raritas quaedam et 
adsitnilis spongiis mollitudo ad hauriendum spiritum 
aptissima, qui tum se contrahunt adspirantes, tum 
in respiratu dilatantur, ut frequenter ducatur cibus 

137 animaUs quo maxime aluntur animantes. Ex inte- 
stinis autem alvo^ secretus a rehquo cibo sucus is quo 
ahmur permanat ad iecur per quasdam a medio in- 
testino usque ad portas iecoris (sic enim appellantur) 
ductas et derectas vias, quae pertinent ad iecur eique 
adhaerent ; atque inde ahae <aHo>2 pertinentes sunt, 
per quas cadit cibus a iecore dilapsus. Ab eo cibo 
cum est secreta biUs eique umores qui e renibus pro- 
funduntur, rehqua se in sanguinem vertunt ad eas- 
demque portas iecoris confluunt, ad quas omnes eius 
viae pertinent ; per quas lapsus cibus in hoc ipso loco 
in eam venam quae cava appellatur confunditur per- 
que eam ad cor confectus iam coctusque^ perlabitur ; 
a corde autem in totum corpus distribuitur per venas 
admodum multas in omnes partes corporis pertinentes. 

138 Quem ad modum autem rehquiae cibi depellantur 
tum astringentibus se intestinis tum relaxantibus, 

^ alvo om. dett. ^ Ueindorf: <ad renes> Jscemsius. 

' Ascensius : coactusque mss., concoctusque Madvig. 

<* The phleps koile, the great trunk vein. 


manifold and twisted ; it compresses and contains 
the dry or moist nutriment that it receives, enabling 
it to be assimilated and digested ; at one moment it 
is astricted and at another relaxed, thus pressing and 
mixing together all that is passed into it, so that by 
means of the abundant heat which it possesses, and by 
its crushing the food, and also by the operation of the 
breath, everything is digested and worked up so as to 
be easily distributed throughout the rest of the body. 
LV. The lungs on the contrary are soft and of a loose 
and spongy consistency, well adapted to absorb the 
breath ; which they inhale and exhale by altemately 
contracting and expanding, to provide frequent 
draughts of that aerial nutriment which is the chief 

137 support of animal Ufe. The ahmentary juice secreted 
from the rest of the food by the stomach flows from 
the bowels to the hver through certain ducts or 
channels reaching to the Hver, to w^hich they are 
attached, and connecting up what are called the 
doorways of the hver with the middle intestine. 
From the hver different channels pass in difFerent 
directions, and through these falls the food passed 
down from the hver. From this food is secreted bile, 
and the hquids excreted by the kidneys ; the residue 
turns into blood and flows to the aforesaid doorways 
of the hver, to which all its channels lead. Flowing 
through these doorways the food at this very point 
pours into the so-called vena cava or hollow vein,** and 
through this, being now completely worked up and 
digested, flows to the heart, and from the heart is 
distributed all over the body through a rather large 
number of veins that reach to every part of the frame. 

138 It would not be difficult to indicate the way in which 
the residue of the food is excreted by the alternate 



haud sane clirT.cile dictu est, sed tamen praetereun- 
dum est ne quid habeat iniucunditatis oratio. Illa 
potius explicetur incredibilis fabrica naturae : nam 
quae spiritu in puhiiones anima ducitur, ea calescit 
primum ipso ab spiritu, deinde contagione pulmonum, 
ex eaque pars redditur respirando, pars concipitur 
cordis parte quadam quem ventriculum cordis appel- 
lant, cui simihs alter adiunctus est in quem sanguis 
a iecore per venam illam cavam influit ; eoque modo 
ex his partibus et sanguis per venas in omne corpus 
diffunditur et spiritus per arterias ; utraeque autem 
crebrae multaeque toto corpore intextae vim quandam 
incredibilem artificiosi operis divinique testantur. 

139 Quid dicam de ossibus ? quae subiecta corpori mira- 
biles commissuras habent et ad stabihtatem aptas et 
ad artus finiendos adcommodatas et ad motum et ad 
omnem corporis actionem. Huc adde nervos, a quibus 
artus continentur, eorumque inphcationem corpore 
toto pertinentem, qui sicut venae et arteriae a corde 
tracti et profecti^ in corpus omne ducuntur. 

140 LVI. " Ad hanc providentiam naturae tam dihgen- 
tem tamque soUertem adiungi multa possunt e quibus 
intellegatur quantae res hominibus a dis- quamque 
eximiae tributae sint. Quae^ primum eos humo 
excitatos celsos et erectos constituit,* ut deorum 
cognitionem caelum intuentes capere possent. Sunt 

^ sic edd. ; tractae et profectae mss. 

* a dis secl. Schomann. ' quae Asconius : qui mss. 

* constituerunt dett. 

<• The Greeks used the same word neuroi for both, and 
did not clearly distinguish them. 



astriction and relaxation of the bovvels ; however this 
topie must be passed over lest my discourse should be 
somewhat offensive. Rather let me unfold the foUow- 
ing instance of the incredible skilfulness of nature's 
handiwork. The air drawn into the lungs by breath- 
ing is warmed in the first instance by the breath itself 
and then by contact with the lungs ; part of it is re- 
turned by the act of respiration, and part is received 
by a certain part of the heart. called the cardiac 
ventricle, adjacent to which is a second similar 
vessel into which the blood flows from the hver 
through the veiia cava mentioned above ; and in this 
manner from these organs both the blood is diffused 
through the veins and the breath through the arteries 
all over the body. Both of these sets of vessels are 
very numerous and are closely interwoven with the 
tissues of the entire body ; they testify to an extra- 
ordiiiary degree of skilful and divine craftsmanship. 

139 Why need I speak about the bones, which are the the stmc- 
framework of the body ? their marvellous cartilages i^n'8 body j 
are nicely adapted to secure stabiUty, and fitted to 

end off the joints and to allow of movement and 
bodily activity of every sort. Add thereto the nerves 
or sinews^' which hold the joints together and whose 
ramifications pervade the entire body ; Hke the veins 
and arteries these lead from the heart as their 
starting-point and pass to all parts of the body. 

140 LVI. " Many further illustrations could be given "i^i?'? «J^ct 
of this wise and careful providence of nature, to ^*^"^ ^^^' 
illustrate the lavishness and splendour of the gifts 
bestowed by the gods on men. First, she has raised 

them from the ground to stand tall and upright, so 
that tliey might be able to behold the sky and so gain 
a knowledge of the gods. For men are sprung from 



enim ex terra homines non ut incolae atque habita- 
tores sed quasi spectatores superarum rerum atque 
caelestium, quarum spectaculum ad nullum aliud 
genus animantium pertinet. Sensus autem inter- 
pretes ac nuntii rerum in capite tamquam in arce 
mirifice ad usus necessarios et facti et conlocati sunt. 
Nara oculi tamquam speculatores altissimum locum 
obtinent, ex quo plurima conspicientes fungantur suo 

141 munere ; et aures, cura sonura percipere debeant 
qui natura in^ sublime fertur, recte in altis corporum 
partibus collocatae sunt ; itemque nares et quod 
omnis odor ad supera fertur recte sursum sunt et 
quod cibi et potionis iudicium raagnum earum est 
non sine causa vicinitatera oris secutae sunt. lam 
gustatus, qui sentire eorum quibus vesciraur genera 
debet,^ habitat in ea parte oris qua esculentis et potu- 
lentis iter natura patefecit. Tactus autem toto cor- 
pore aequabiliter fusus est, ut omnes ictus oranesque 
minimos' et frigoris et caloris adpulsus sentire possi- 
mus. Atque ut in aedificiis architecti avertunt ab 
oculis naribusque dominorum ea quae profluentia ne- 
cessario taetri essent aliquid habitura, sic natura res 
simihs procul amandavit a sensibus. 

142 LVII. " Quis vero opifex praeter naturam, qua 
nihil potest esse calhdius, tantam soUertiam per- 
sequi potuisset in sensibus ? quae primura oculos 
merabranis tenuissirais vestivit et saepsit, quas pri- 

1 in om. deft. ^ debet dett. : deberet A, B. 

^ mininios dett. : niinios A, B. 



the earth not as its inhabitants and denizens, but to 
be as it were the spectators of things supernal and 
heavenly, in the contemplation whereof no other 
species of animals participates. Next, the senses, man'sorgans 
posted in the citadel of the head as the reporters and ^^^^^^®» 
messengers of the outer world, both in structure and 
position are marvellously adapted to their necessary 
services. The eyes as the watchmen have the highest 
station, to give them the widest outlook for the per- 

tl formance of their function. The ears also, having the 
duty of perceiving sound, the nature of which is to 
rise, are rightly placed in the upper part of the body. 
The nostrils hkewise are rightly placed high inasmuch 
as all smells travel upwards, but also, because they 
have much to do ^vith discriminating food and drink, 
they have with good reason been brought into the 
neighbourhood of the mouth. Taste, which has the 
function of distinguishing the flavours of our various 
viands, is situated in that part of the face where 
nature has made an aperture for the passage of food 
and drink. The sense of touch is evenly diffused over 
all the body, to enable us to perceive all sorts of con- 
tacts and even the minutest impacts of both cold and 
heat. And just as architects relegate the drains of 
houses to the rear, away from the eyes and nose of 
the masters, since otherwise they would inevitably 
be somewhat offensive, so nature has banished the 
corresponding organs of the body far away from the 
neighbourhood of the senses. 

\2 LVII. " Again what artificer but nature, who is 
unsurpassed in her cunning, could have attained such 
skilfulness in the construction of the senses ? First, 
she has clothed and walled the eyes with membranes 
of the finest texture, which she has made on the one 



mum perlucidas fecit ut per eas cerni posset, firmas 
aulem ut continerent^ ; sed lubricos oculos fecit et 
mobiles, ut et declinarent si quid noceret et aspec- 
tum quo vellent facile converterent ; aciesque ipsa 
qua cernimus, quae pupula vocatur, ita parva est ut 
ea quae nocere possint facile vitet, palpebraeque, 
quae sunt tegmenta oculorum, mollissimae tactu ne 
laederent aciem, aptissime factae^ et ad claudendas 
pupulas ne quid incideret et ad aperiendas, idque 
providit ut identidem fieri posset cum maxima celeri- 

143 tate. Munitaeque sunt palpebrae tamquam vallo 
pilorum, quibus et apertis oculis si quid incideret 
repelleretur et somno coniventibus, cum oculis ad 
cernendum non egeremus,!^ ut qui tamquam involuti 
quiescerent. Latent praeterea utiliter et excelsis 
undique partibus saepiuntur ; primum enim superiora 
superciliis obducta sudorem a capite et fronte de- 
fluentem repellunt ; genae deinde ab inferiore parte 
tutantur subiectae leniterque eminentes ; nasusque 
ita locatus est ut quasi murus oculis interiectus esse 

144 videatur. Auditus autem semper patet, eius enim 
sensu etiam domiientes egemus, a quo cum sonus est 
acceptus etiam e somno excitamur. Flexuosum itcr 
habet, ne quid intrare possit si simplex et dcrectum 
pateret ; provisum etiam ut si qua minima bestiola 

^ continerent Lambinus : continerentur. 

2 et aptissirnae factae sunt I/chu/or/. 

3 locuni corriiptum edd. varie scmant. 

" Pvpa^ Kopr], so called from its reflecting a sinall image 
of a person who looks into it. 


hand transparent so that we may be able to see 
through them, and on the other hand firm of sub- 
stance, to serve as the outer cover of the eye. The 
eyes she has made mobile and smoothly turning, so 
as both to avoid any threatened injury and to 
direct their gaze easily in any direction they desire. 
The actual organ of vision, called the pupil or * httle 
doll,'<^ is so small as easily to avoid objects that might 
nijure it ; and the hds, which are the covers of the 
eyes, are very soft to the touch so as not to hurt the 
pupil, and very neatly constructed so as to be able 
both to shut the eyes in order that nothing may im- 
pinge upon them and to open them ; and nature has 
provided that this process can be repeated again and 

143 again with extreme rapidity. The eyelids are fur- 
nished with a palisade of hairs, whereby to ward off 
any impinging object while the eyes are open, and 
so that while they are closed in sleep, when we do not 
need the eyes for seeing, they may be as it were 
tucked up for repose. Moreover the eyes are in an 
advantageously retired position, and shielded on all 
sides by surrounding prominences ; for first the parts 
above them are covered by the eyebrows which pre- 
vent sweat from flowing down from the scalp and 
forehead ; then the cheeks, which are placed beneath 
them and which slightly project, protect them from 
below ; and the nose is so placed as to seem to be 

1-44 a wall separating the eyes from one another. The 
organ of hearing on the other hand is ahvays open, 
since we require this sense even when asleep, and 
when it receives a sound, we are aroused even from 
sleep. The auditory passage is winding, to prevent 
anything from being able to enter, as it might if the 
passage were clear and straiii;ht ; it has further been 



conaretur inrumpere^ in sordibus aurium tamquam 
in visco inhaeresceret. Extra autem eminent quae 
appellantur aures, et tegendi causa factae tutandique 
sensus et ne adiectae voces laberentur atque errarent 
prius quam sensus ab iis pulsus esset. Sed duros et 
quasi corneolos habent introitus multisque cum flexi- 
bus, quod his naturis relatus ampUficatur sonus ; 
quocirca et in fidibus testudine resonatur aut cornu, 
et ex tortuosis locis et inclusis <soni>2 referuntur 

145 ampliores. Similiter nares, quae semper propter 
necessarias utiHtates patent, contractiores habent in- 
troitus, ne quid in eas quod noceat possit pervadere ; 
umoremque semper habent ad pulverem multaque alia 
depellenda non inutilem. Gustatus praeclare saeptus 
est, ore enim continetur et ad usum apte et ad in- 
columitatis custodiam. 

LVIII. " Omnesque' sensus hominum multo ante- 
cellunt* sensibus bestiarum. Primum enim oculi in 
iis artibus quarum iudicium est oculorum, in pictis 
fictis^ caelatisque formis, in corporum etiam motione 
atque gestu multa* cernunt subtilius, colorum enim' 
et figararum [tum]^ venustatem atque ordinem et ut 
ita dicam decentiam oculi iudicant ; atque etiam alia 
maiora, nam et virtutes et vitia cognoscunt, iratum 
propitium, laetantem dolentem, fortem ignavum, au- 

146 dacem timidumque^ [cognoscunt].^° Auriumque item 
est admirabile quoddam artificiosumque iudicium, quo 

^ irrepere quidam apud Lambinum. 

* <soni> Lambinus, post referuntur dett. 

^ omnisque A corr. 

* antecellunt B corr. : antecellit. 

^ An ut dittographia secludendum? cf. § 150 ed. 

• mvWo ? ed. ' enim JTeindorf : etiam. 

' secl. Manutius : <orna>tum vel <habi>tum Plasberg. 

' que om. Ald. " secl. Baiter. 



provided that even the tiniest insect that may at- 
tempt to intrude may be caught in the sticky wax of 
the ears. On the outside project the organs which 
we call ears, which are constructed both to cover and 
protect the sense-organ and to prevent the sounds 
that reach them from sHding past and being lost be- 
fore they strike the sense. The apertures of the ears 
are hard and gristly, and much convoluted, because 
things with these quahties reflect and ampHfy sound ; 
this is why tortoise-shell or horn gives reson- 
ance to a lyre, and also why winding passages and 
enclosures have an echo which is louder than the 

.45 original sound. Similarly the nostrils, which to serve 
the purposes required of them have to be always open, 
have narrower apertures, to prevent the entrance of 
anything that may harm them ; and they are always 
moist, which is useful to guard them against dust and 
many other things. The sense of taste is admirably 
shielded, being enclosed in the mouth in a manner 
well suited for the performance of its function and 
for its protection against harm. 

LVIII. ** And all the senses of man far excel those 
of the lower animals. In the first place our eyes have 
a finer perception of many things in the arts which 
appeal to the sense of sight, painting, modelHng and 
sculpture, and also in bodily movements and ges- 
tures ; since the eyes judge beauty and arrangement 
and so to speak propriety of colour and shape ; and 
also other more important matters, for they also 
recognize virtues and vices, the angry and the friendly, 
the joyful and the sad, the brave man and the coward, 

146 the bold and the craven. The ears are likewise 
marvellously skilful organs of discrimination ; they 



iudicatur et in vocis et in tibiarum nervorumque 
cantibus varietas sonorum intervalla distinctio, et 
vocis genera permulta, canorum fuscum, leve asperum, 
grave acutum. flexibile durum, quae hominum solum 
auribus iudicantur. Nariumque item et gustandi et 
<quadam ex>^ parte tangendi magna iudicia sunt. 
Ad quos sensus capiendos et perfruendos plures 
etiam quam vellem artes repertae sunt. Perspicuum 
est enim quo conpositiones unguentorum, quo cibo- 
rum conditiones, quo corporum lenocinia processerint. 

147 LIX. " lam vero animum ipsum mentemque homi- 
nis rationem consilium prudentiam qui non di\ina 
cura perfecta esse perspicit, is his ipsis rebus mihi 
videtur carere. De quo dum disputarem tuam milii 
dari vellem, Cotta, eloquentiam. Quo enim tu illa 
modo diceres quanta primum intellegentia, deinde 
consequentium rerum cum primis coniunctio et con- 
prehensio esset in nobis ; ex quo videlicet iudicamus' 
quid ex quibusque rebus efficiatur idque ratione con- 
cludimus, singulasque res definimus circumscripte- 
que complectimur ; ex quo scientia intellegitur 
quam vim habcat quahs^quo^ sit, qua ne in deo 
quidem est res ulla praestantior. Quanta vero illa 
sunt, quae vos Academici infirmatis et tolhtis, quod 
et sensibus et animo ea quae extra sunt percipimus 

148 atque conprendimus ; ex quibus conlatis inter se et 

^ ci. Plasherg. 

2 (videlicet iudicamus Phisherg : iudicamus videHcet 
VahJen): videhcet A, videmus B. 
^ Moser. 

" It is quite possible that the three words varietas^ inter- 
valla, distinctio are merely a periphrasis for the single term 


DE NATURA DEORUM, II. Iviii.— lix. 

jiidgc differences of tone, of pitch and of key ** in tlie 
music of the voice and of wind and stringed instru- 
ments, and many difterent quaHties of voice, sonorous 
and dull, smooth and rough, bass and treble, flexible 
and hard, distinctions discriminated by the human 
ear alone. Likewise the nostrils, the taste and in 
some measure the touch have highly sensitive facul- 
ties of discrimination. And the arts invented to 
appeal to and indulge these senses are even more 
numerous than I could wish. The developments of 
perfumery and cookery and of the meretricious 
adornment of the person are obvious examples. 

147 LIX. " Coming now to the actual mind and intel- man'sdivina 
lect of man, his reason, wisdom and foresight, onefeason; 
who cannot see that these owe their perfection to 

divine providence must in my view himself be devoid 
of these very faculties. While discussing this topic 
I could wish, Cotta, that I had the gift of your elo- 
quence. How could not you describe first our powers 
of understanding, and then our faculty of conjoining ^ 
prcmisses and consequences in a single act of appre- 
hension, the faculty I mean that enables us to judge — 
what conclusion follows from any given propositions 
and to put the inference in syllogistic form, and also 
to dehmit particular terms in a succinct definition ; 
whence we arrive at an understanding of the potency 
and the nature of knowledge, which is the most ex- 
cellent part even of the divine nature. Again, how 
remarkable are the faculties which you Academics in- 
vahdate and abohsh, our sensory and intellectual per- 

148 ception and comprehension of external objects ; it is 
by collating and comparing our percepts that we also 

8ia<xT,]/j.aTa, ' dilTerences of pitch,' in contrast with differences 
of quality which follow. 



conparatis artes quoque effieimus partim ad usum 
vitae partim ad oblectationem necessarias. lam vero 
domina rerum, ut vos soletis dicere, eloquendi vis 
quam est praeclara quamque divina : quae primum 
efficit ut et ea quae ignoramus discere et ea quae 
scimus alios docere possimus ; deinde hac cohorta- 
mur hac persuademus, hac consolamur afflictos hac 
deducimus perterritos a timore, hac gestientes con- 
primimus hac cupiditates iracundiasque restingui- 
mus, haec nos iuris legum urbium societate devinxit, 

149 haec a vita inmani et fera segrega\dt. Ad usum 
autem orationis incredibile est, si^ diUgenter atten- 
deris, quanta opera machinata natura sit. Primum 
enim a pulmonibus arteria usque ad os intimum 
pertinet, per quam vox principium a mente ducens 
percipitur et funditur. Deinde in ore sita Ungua est 
finita^ dentibus ; ea vocem inmoderate profusam 
fingit et terminat atque sonos vocis distinctos et 
pressos efficit cum et^ dentes et* ahas partes peUit 
oris. Itaque plectri similem hnguam nostri solent 
dicere, chordarum dentes, nares cornibus iis qui ad 
nervos resonant in cantibus. 

150 LX. " Quam vero aptas quamque multarum artium 
ministras manus natura homini dedit. Digitorum 
enim contractio faciUs faciUsque porrectio propter 
moUes commissuras et artus nullo in motu laborat. 
Itaque ad pingendum, <ad>^ fingendum, ad scalpen- 
dum, ad nervorum eUciendos sonos ac tibiarum 
apta manus est admotione digitorum. Atque haec 

* si Madvig : nisi. ' munita Baenemann, 

" et ad ^ corr. * et ad A. 

5 acld. Ald. : [fingendum] ? cf. § 145 ed. 

" The vibration of the hoUow horns no doubt intensified 
the sound of the strings. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. lix.— Ix. y 

create the arts that serve either practical necessities man'8 gift of 
or the purpose of amiisement. Then take the gift of ^p/qJ^*"*! 
speech, the queen of arts as you are fond of calhng 
it — what a glorious, what a divine faculty it is ! In 
the first place it enables us both to learn things we do 
not know and to teach things we do know to others ; 
secondly it is our instrument for exhortation and per- 
suasion, for consoUng the afflicted and assuaging the 
fears of the terrified, for curbing passion and quench- 
ing appetite and anger ; it is this that has united us 
in the bonds of justice, law and civil order, this that 

149 has separated us from savagery and barbarism. Now 
careful consideration will show that the mechanism 
of speech displays a skill on nature's part that sur- 
passes beHef. In the first place there is an artery 
passing from the lungs to the back of the mouth, 
which is the channel by which the voice, originating 
from the mind, is caught and uttered. Next, the 
tongue is placed in the mouth and confined by the 
teeth ; it modulates and defines the inarticulate flow 
of the voice and renders its sounds distinct and clear 
by striking the teeth and other parts of the mouth. 
Accordingly my school is fond of comparing the tongue 
to the quill of a lyre, the teeth to the strings, and the 
nostrils to the horns which echo " the notes of the 
strings when the instrument is played. 

150 LX. " Then what clever servants for a great the mechan- 
variety of arts are the hands which nature has be- {fancf.^a^Hd"^ 
stowed on man ! The flexibiUty of the joints enables lus capacity 
the fingers to close and open with equal ease, and to and craftet 
perform every motion wdthout difficulty. Thus by 

the manipulation of the fingers the hand is enabled 
to paint, to model, to carve, and to draw forth the 
notes of the lyre and of the flute. And beside these 



oblectationis, illa necessitatis, cultus dico agrorura 
extructionesque tectorum, tegumenta corporuni vel 
texta vel suta omnemque fabricam aeris et ferri ; ex 
quo intellegitur ad inventa animo, percepta sensibus 
adhibitis opificum manibus omnia nos consecutos, 
ut tecti ut vestiti ut salvi esse possemus, m-bes 

151 muros domicilia delubra haberemus. lam vero 
operibus hominum, id est manibus, cibi etiam 
varietas invenitur et copia. Nam et agri multa 
efferunt manu quaesita quae vel statim con- 
sumantur vel mandentur condita vetustati, et prae- 
terea vescimur bestiis et terrenis et aquatihbus 
et volantibus partim capiendo partim alendo. Effici- 
mus etiam domitu nostro quadripedum vectiones, 
quorum celeritas atque vis nobis ipsis adfert vim et 
celeritatem ; nos onera quibusdam bestiis nos iuga 
inponimus, nos elephantorum acutissumis sensibus nos 
sagacitate canum ad utiUtatem nostram abutimur, 
nos e terrae cavernis ferrum ehgimus rem ad colen- 
dos agros necessariam, nos aeris argenti auri venas 
penitus abditas invenimus et ad usum aptas et ad or- 
natum decoras. Arborum autem consectione omnique 
materia et culta et silvestri partim ad calficiendum 
corpus igni adhibito et ad mitigandum cibum utimur, 
partim ad aedificandum ut tectis saepti frigora ca- 

152 loresque pellamus ; magnos vero usus adfert ad na- 
vigia facienda, quorum cursibus subpeditantur omnes 
undique ad vitam copiae ; quasque res violentissimas 


art*^ of recreation there are those of utility, I mean 
agriculture and building, the weaving and stitching 
of garments, and the various modes of working bronze 
and iron ; hence we reahze that it was by applying 
the hand of the artificer to the discoveries of thought 
andobservationsof thesenses that all ourconveniences 
were attained, and we were enabled to have shelter, 
clothing and protection, and possessed cities, fortifi- 

151 cations, houses and temples. Moreover men's in- 
dustry, that is to say the work of their hands, procures 
us also our food in variety and abundance. It is the 
hand that gathers the divers products of the fields, 
whether to be consumed immediately or to be stored 
in repositories for the days to come ; and our diet also 
includes flesh, fish and fowl, obtained partly by the 
chase and partly by breeding. We also tame the four- 
footed animals to carry us on their backs, their swift- 
ness and strength bestowing strength and swiftness 
upon ourselves. We cause certain beasts to bear our 
burdens or to carry a yoke, we divert to our service 
the marvellously acute senses of elephants and the 
keen scent of hounds ; we collect from the caves of 
the earth the iron which we need for tilHng the land, 
we discover the deeply hidden veins of copper, silver 
and gokl which serve us both for use and for adorn- 
ment ; we cut up a multitude of trees both wild and 
cultivated for timber which we employ partly by 
setting fire to it to warm our bodies and cook our 
food, partly for building so as to shelter ourselves 

152 with houses and banish heat and cold. Timber more- 
over is of great value for constructing ships, whose 
voyages supply an abundance of sustenance of all 
sorts from all parts of the earth ; and we alone have 
the power of controlhng the most violent of nature's 



natura genuit earum moderationem nos soli habemus, 
maris atque ventorum, propter nauticarum rerum 
scientiam, plurimisque maritimis rebus fruimur atque 
utimur. Terrenorum item commodorum omnis est in 
homine dominatus : nos campis nos montibus frui- 
mur, nostri sunt amnes nostri lacus, nos fruges seri- 
mus nos arbores, nos aquarum inductionibus terris 
fecunditatem damus, nos flumina arcemus derigimus 
avertimus, nostris denique manibus in rerum natura 
quasi alteram naturam efficere conamur. 

153 LXI. " Quid vero ? hominum ratio non in caelum 
usque penetravit ? Soli enim ex animantibus nos 
astrorum ortus obitus cursusque cognovimus, ab 
hominum genere finitus est dies mensis annus, 
defectiones solis et lunae cognitae praedictaeque in 
omne posterum tempus, quae quantae quando 
futurae sint. Quae contuens animus accedit ad 
cognitionem deorum, e qua oritur pietas, cui con- 
iuncta iustitia est reUquaeque virtutes, e quibus 
vita beata existit par et similis deorum, nulla alia 
re nisi inmortalitate, quae nihil ad bene vivendum 
pertinet, cedens caelestibus. Quibus rebus expositis 
satis docuisse videor hominis natura quanto omnis 
anteiret animantes ; ex quo debet intellegi nec 
figuram situmque membrorum nec ingenii mentis- 
que vim talem effici potuisse fortuna. 

154 *' Restat ut doceam atque aUquando perorem, omnia 
quae sint in hoc mundo quibus utantur homines 
hominum causa facta esse et parata. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, 11. Ix.— Ixi. 

ofFspring, the sea and the winds, thanks to the science 
of navigation, and we use and enjoy many products 
of the sea. Likewise the entire command of the 
commodities produced on land is vested in mankind. 
We enjoy the fruits of the plains and of the mountains, 
the rivers and the lakes are ours, we sow corn, we 
plant trees, we fertihze the soil by irrigation, we con- 
fine the rivers and straighten or divert their courses. 
In fine, by means of our hands we essay to create as 
it were a second world ^vithin the world of nature. 

153 LXI. " Then moreover has not man's reason pene- '^^^'^''.. 
trated even to the sky ? We alone of hving creatures ^serve the 
know the risings and settings and the courses of the {o^JoJ^ifp'' 
stars, the human race has set hmits to the day, the thegods. 
month and the year, and has learnt the echpses of 

the sun and moon and foretold for all future time 
their occurrence, their extent and their dates. And 
contemplating the heavenly bodies the mind arrives 
at a knowledge of the gods, from which arises piety, 
with its comrades justice and the rest of the virtues, 
the sources of a hfe of happiness that vies with and 
resembles the divine existence and leaves us inferior 
to the celestial beings in nothing else save immor- 
taUty, which is immaterial for happiness. I think 
that my exposition of these matters has been suffi- 
cient to prove how widely man's nature surpasses all 
other hving creatures ; and this should make it clear 
that neithersuch a conformation and arrangement of 
the members nor such power of mind and intellect 
can possibly have been created by chance. 

154 " It remains for me to show, in coming finally to a iv. Pro\i- 
conclusion, that all the things in this world which men forman 
employ have been created and provided for the sake C§i54toend). 
of men. 



LXII. " Principio ipse mundus deorum homimim- 
que causa factus est, quaeque in eo sunt ea parata ad 
fructum hominum et inventa sunt. Est enim mundus 
quasi communis deorum atque hominum domus, aut 
urbs utrorumque ; soli enim ratione utentes iure ac 
lege vivunt. Ut igitur Athenas et Lacedaemonem 
Atheniensium Lacedaemoniorumque causa putan- 
dum est conditas esse, omniaque quae sint in his 
urbibus eorum populorum recte esse dicuntur, sic 
quaecumque sunt in omni mundo deorum atque 

165 hominum putanda sunt. lam vero circumitus solis 
et lunae rehquorumque siderum, quamquam etiam 
ad mundi cohaerentiam pertinent, tamen et spectacu- 
lum hominibus praebent ; nuUa est enim insatiabiUor 
species, nulla pulchrior et ad rationem sollertiamque 
praestantior ; eorum enim cursus dimetati maturl»- 
tates temporum et varietates mutationesque cogno» 
vimus ; quae si hominibus sohs riota sunt, hominum 

156 facta esse causa iudicandum est. Terra vero feta 
frugibus et vario leguminum genere, quae cum 
maxuma largitate fundit, ea ferarumne an hominum 
causa gignere videtur ? Quid de vitibus ohvetisque 
dicam, quarum uberrumi laetissumique fructus 
nihil omnino ad bestias pertinent ? Neque enim 
serendi neque colendi nec tempestive demetendi 
percipiendique fructus neque condendi ac reponendi 



LXII. " In the first place the world itself was The worid 
created for the sake of gods and men, and the things heaveifiy 
that it contains were provided and contrived for the bodies exist 
enjoyment of men. For the world is as it were the of gods 
common dwelhng-place of gods and men, or the ^"^ ™®°* 
city that belongs to both ; for they alone have the 
use of reason and live by justice and by law. As 
therefore Athens and Sparta must be deemed to have 
been founded for the sake of the Athenians and the 
Spartans, and all the things contained in those cities 
are rightly said to belong to those peoples, so what- 
ever things are contained in all the world must be 

155 deemed to belong to the gods and to men. Again the 
revolutions of the sun and moon and other heavenly 
bodies, although also contributing to the mainten- 
ance of the structure of the world, nevertheless also 
afford a spectacle for man to behold ; for there is no 
sight of which it is more impossible to grow weary, 
none more beautiful nor displaying a more surpassing 
wisdom and skill ; for by measuring the courses of 
the stars we know when the seasons will come 
round, and when their variations and changes will 
occur ; and if these things are known to men alone, 
they must be judged to have been created for the 

156 sake of men. Then the earth, teeming with grain xhe 
and vetretables of various kinds, which she pours ^'^s^table 

/•1-1-111 1 1 kujgdom 13 

lorth in lavish abundance — does she appear to give provided lor 
birth to this produce for the sake of the wild beasts of maS 
or for the sake of men ? What shall I say of the vines 
and oHves, whose bounteous and dehghtful fruits do 
not concern the lower animals at a]l ? In fact the 
beasts of the field are entirely ignorant of the arts of 
sowing and cultivating, and of reaping and gathering 
the fruits of the earth in due season and storing them 



ulla pecudum scientia est, earumque omnium rerum 

157 hominum est et usus et cura. LXIII. Ut fides 
igitur et tibias eorum causa factas dicendum est 
qui illis uti possent, sic ea quae dixi iis solis con- 
fitendum est esse parata qui utuntur, nec si quae 
bestiae furantur aliquid ex iis aut rapiunt, illarum 
quoque causa ea nata esse dicemus. Neque enim 
homines murum aut formicarum causa frumentum 
condunt sed coniugum et liberorum et familiarum 
suarum ; itaque bestiae furtim ut dixi fruuntur, domini 

158 palam et libere. Hominum igitur causa eas rerum 
copias comparatas fatendum est, nisi forte tanta 
ubertas et varietas pomorum eorumque iucundus 
non gustatus solum sed odoratus etiam et aspectus 
dubitationem adfert quiu hominibus solis ea natura 
donaverit. Tantumque abest ut haec bestiarura 
etiam causa parata sint, ut ipsas bestias hominum 
gratia generatas esse videamus. Quid enim oves 
ahud adferunt nisi ut earum vilhs confectis atque 
contextis homines vestiantur ? quae quidem neque 
ah neque sustentari neque ullum fructum edere ex 
se sine cultu hominum et curatione potuissent. 
Canum vero tam fida custodia tamque amans domi- 
norum adulatio tantumque odium in externos, et 
tam incredibihs ad investigandum sagacitas narium 
tanta alacritas in venando quid significat ^ ahud nisi 
se ad hominum commoditates esse generatos ? 

159 Quid de bubus loquar ? quorum ipsa terga declarant 

^ significant ? ed. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, 11. Ixii.— Ixiii. 

in garners ; all these products are both enjoyed and 
167 tended by men. LXIII. Just as therefore we are 
bound to say that lyres and flutes were made for the 
sake of those who can use them, so it must be agreed 
that the things of which I have spoken have been 
provided for those only who make use of them, and 
even if some portion of them is filched or plundered 
by some of the lower animals, we shall not admit that 
they were created for the sake of these animals also. 
Men do not store up corn for the sake of mice and 
ants but for their wives and children and households ; 
80 the animals share these fruits of the earth only 
by stealth as I have said, whereas their masters enjoy 

158 them openly and freely. It must therefore be ad- 
mitted that all this abundance was provided for the 
sake of men, unless perchance the bounteous plenty 
and variety of our orchard fruit and the dehghtfulness 
not only of its flavour but also of its scent and appear- 
ance lead us to doubt whether nature intended this 

gift for man alone ! So far is it from being true that 5|"? t^ 
the fruits of the earth were provided for the sake of are created 
animals as well as men, that the animals themselves, forhisuse, 
as we may see, were created for the benefit of men. 
What other use have sheep save that their fleeces are 
dressed and woven into clothing for men ? and in fact 
they could not have been reared nor sustained nor have 
produced anything of value ^^ithout man's care and 
tendance. Then think of the dog, with its trusty 
watchfulness, its fawning affection for its master and 
hatred of strangers, its incredible keenness of scent 
in following a trail and its eagerness in hunting — what 
do these quahties imply except that they were created 

159 to serve the conveniences of men ? Why should I 
speak of oxen ? the very shape of their backs makes 



non esse se ad onus accipiendum figurata, cervices 
autem natae ad iugum, tum vires umerorum et 
latitudines ad aratra [ex]trahenda.^ Quibus cum 
terrae subigerentur fissione glebarum, ab illo aureo 
genere, ut poetae loquuntur, vis nulla umquam ad- 
ferebatur ; 

ferrea tum vero proles exorta repente est, 
ausaque funestum prima est fabricarier ensem 
et gustare manu vinctum domitumque iuvencum. 

Tanta putabatur utilitas percipi e bubus ut eorum 
visceribus vesci scelus haberetur. 

LXIV. " Longum est mulorum persequi utilitates 
et asinorum, quae certe ad hominum usum paratae 

160 sunt. Sus vero quid habet praeter escam ? cui 
quidem ne putesceret animam ipsam pro sale 
datam dicit esse Chrysippus ; qua pecude, quod 
erat ad vescendum hominibus apta, nihil genuit 
natura fecundius. Quid multitudinem suavitatem- 
que piscium dicam ? quid avium, ex quibus tanta per- 
cipitur voluptas ut interdum Pronoea nostra Epicurea 
fuisse videatur ? atque eae ne caperentur quidem 
nisi hominum ratione atque sollertia ; — quamquam 
avis quasdam, et ahtes et oscines, ut nostri augures 
appellant, rerum augurandarum causa esse natas 

161 putamus. lam vero immanes et feras beluas nan- 
ciscimur venando, ut et vescamur iis et exerceamur 

^ trahenda Ernesti. 

" Cicero's translation of Aratus's Phaenomenay 129 fF. 
* Clement of Alexandria, Strom. vii. 34 KXedvdrjs (pr^alv 

DE NATURA DEORUM, II. Ixiii.— Ixiv. 

it clear that they were not destined to carry burdens, 
wliereas their necks were born for the yoke and their 
broad powerful shoulders for drawing the plough. 
And as it was by their means that the earth was 
brought under tillas^e by breaking up its clods, no 
violence was ever used towards them, so the poets 
say, by the men of that Golden Age ; 

But then the iron race sprang into being, 
And first did dare to forge the deadly sword, 
And taste the ox its hand had tamed to bondage.'* 

So valuable was deemed the service that man re- 
ceived from oxen that to eat their flesh was held a 

LXIV. " It would be a long story to tell of the 
services rendered by mules and asses, which were un- 

160 doubtedly created for the use of men. As for the pig, 
it can only furnish food ; indeed Chrysippus ^ actually 
says that its soul was given it to serve as salt and 
keep it from putrefaction ; and because this animal 
was fitted for the food of man, nature made it the 
most proHfic of all her offspring. Why should I speakof 
theteeming swarms of dehcious fish ? or of birds,which 
afford us so much pleasure that our Stoic Providence 
appears to have been at times a disciple of Epicurus ? 
and they could not even be caught save by man's 
inteHigence and cunning ; — although some birds, 
birds of flight and birds of utterance as our augurs 
call them, we beheve to have been created for the 

161 purpose of giving omens. The great beasts of the 
forest again we take by hunting, both for food and in 
order to exercise ourselves in the mimic warfare of the 

avd' a\(hv avTovs {tovs Pj) ^Xf'" '''^^ i^^XV"* ''''* f^V o^awg tol 
xpea ; but Cicero is probably right in giving it to Chrysippus. 



in venando ad similitudinem bellicae disciplinae, 
et utamur domitis et condocefactis, ut elephantis, 
multaque ex earum corporibus remedia morbis et 
vulneribus eligamus, sicut ex quibusdam stirpibus 
et herbis quarum utilitates longinqui temporis usu 
et pericUtatione percepimus. Totam Hcet animis 
tamquam oculis lustrare terram mariaque omnia : 
cernes iam spatia frugifera atque inmensa camporum 
vestitusque densissimos montium, pecudum pastus, 

162 tum incredibili cursus maritimos celeritate. Nec 
vero supra terram sed etiam in intumis eius tenebris 
plurimarum rerum latet utiHtas quae ad usum 
hominum orta ab hominibus solis invenitur. 

LXV. " Illud vero, quod uterque vestrum arripiet 
fortasse ad reprendendum, Cotta quia Carneades 
lubenter in Stoicos invehebatur, Velleius quia nihil 
tam inridet Epicurus quam praedictionem rerum 
futurarum, mihi videtur vel maxume confirmare 
deorum providentia consuli rebus humanis. Est 
enim profecto divinatio, quae multis locis rebus 
temporibus apparet cum [in]^ privatis tum maxume 

163 publicis. Multa cernunt haruspices, multa augures 
provident, multa oraclis declarantur multa vatici- 
nationibus multa somniis multa portentis ; quibus 
cognitis multae saepe res ex^ hominum sententic 
atque utihtate partae, multa etiam pericula depulsa 
sunt. Haec igitur sive vis sive ars sive natura ad 
scientiam rerum futurarum homini profecto est nec 
alii cuiquam a dis inmortalibus data. 

* secl. Miiller, * ex dett. : om. A^ B. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, 11. Ixiv.— Ixv. 

chase, and also, as in the case of elephants, to train 
and discipline them for our employment, and to 
procure from their bodies a variety of medicines for 
diseases and wounds, as also we do from certain roots and so fs th« 
and herbs whose values we have learnt by long-con- worid!"'° 
tinued use and trial. Let the mind's eye survey the 
whole earth and all the seas, and you ^vill behold now 
fruitful plains of measureless extent and mountains 
thickly clad with forests and pastures filled with 
flocks, now vessels saihng with marvellous swiftness 

L62 across the sea. Nor only on the surface of the earth, 
but also in its darkest recesses there lurks an abun- 
dance of commodities which were created for men's 
use and which men alone discover. 

LXV. " The next subject is one which each of you Dinnation 
perhaps will seize upon for censure, Cotta because soSy^by ^ 
Carneades used to enjoy tilting at the Stoics, Velleius man. 
because nothing provokes the ridicule of Epicurus so 
much as the art of prophecy ; but in my view it 
affords the very strongest proof that man's welfare \'^ 
is studied by divine providence. I refer of course to 
Divination, which we see practised in many regions 
and upon various matters and occasions both private 

163 and more especially pubhc. Many observations are 
made by those who inspect the victims at sacrifices, 
many events are foreseen by augurs or revealed in 
oracles and prophecies, dreams and portents, a know- 
ledge of which has often led to the acquisition of 
many things gratifying men's wishes and require- 
ments, and also to the avoidance of many dangers. 
This power or art or instinct therefore has clearly ' 
been bestowed by the immortal gods on man, and — 
on no other creature, for the ascertainment of future j 



*' Quae si singula vos forte non movent, universa 
certe tamen inter se conexa atque coniuncta movere 

164 " Nec vero universo generi hominum solum sed 
etiam singulis a dis inmortalibus consuli et provideri 
solet. Licet enim contrahere universitatem generis 
humani, eamque gradatim ad pauciores, postremo 
deducere ad singulos. LXVI. Nam si omnibus 
hominibus qui ubique sunt quacumque in ora ac 
parte terrarum ab huiusce terrae quam nos incoli- 
mus continuatione distantium deos consulere cen- 
semus ob eas causas quas ante diximus, his quoque 
hominibus consulunt qui has nobiscum terras ab 

165 oriente ad occidentem colunt. Sin autem his 
consulunt^ qui quasi magnam quandam insulam 
incolunt quam nos orbem terrae vocamus, etiam 
ilhs consulunt qui partes eius insulae tenent, Europam 
Asiam Africam. Ergo et earum partes diligunt, 
ut Romam Athenas Spartam Rhodum, et earum 
urbium separatim ab universis singulos dih*gunt, 
ut Pyrrhi bello Curium Fabricium Coruncanium, 
primo Punico Calatinum Duellium Metellum Luta- 
tium, secundo Maxumum Marcellum Africanum, 
post hos Paulum Gracchum Catonem, patrumve me- 
moria Scipionem LaeHum ; multosque praeterea et 
nostra civitas et Graecia tuht singulares viros, quo- 
rum neminem nisi iuvante deo talem fuisse creden- 

166 dum est. Quae ratio poetas maxumeque Homerum 
inpuht ut principibus heroum, Uhxi Diomedi Aga- 

^ debebant nonnnlli. 
^ his consulunt Ald. : consulunt iis dett. 


" And if perchance these arguments separately 
fail to convince you, nevertheless in combination 
their collective weight will be bound to do so. 

164 " Nor is the care and providence of the immortal Divinecara 
gods bestowed only upon the human race in its fndividuai' 
entirety, but it is also wont to be extended to indi- men. 
viduals. We may narrow down the entirety of the 
human race and bring it gradually down to smaller 

and smaller groups, and finally to single individuals. 
LXVI. For if we beheve, for the reasons that we 
have spoken of before, that the gods care for all 
human beings everywhere in every coast and region 
of the lands remote from this continent in which we 
dwell, then they care also for the men who inhabit 
with us these lands between the sunrise and the 

165 sunset. But if they care for these who inhabit that 
sort of vast island which we call the round earth, they 
also care for those who occupy the divisions of that 
island, Europe, Asia and Africa. Therefore they 
also cherish the divisions of those divisions, for in- 
stance Rome, Athens, Sparta and Rhodes ; and they 
cherish the individual citizens of those cities regarded 
separately from the whole body coUectively, for 
example, Curius, Fabricius and Coruncanius in the 
war with Pyrrhus, Calatinus, Duelhus, Metellus and 
Lutatius in the First Punic War, and Maximus, 
Marcellus and Africanus in the Second, and at a later 
date Paulus, Gracchus and Cato, or in our fathers' 
time Scipio and Laehus ; and many remarkable men 
besides both our own country and Greece have given 
birth to, none of whom could conceivably have 

166 been what he was save by god's aid. It was this 
reason which drove the poets, and especially Homer, 
to attach to their chief heroes, Ulysses, Diomede, 



memnoni Achilli, certos deos discriminum et pericu- 
lorum comites adiungeret. Praeterea ipsorum deo- 
rum saepe praesentiae, quales supra commemoravi, 
declarant ab iis et civitatibus et singulis hominibus 
consuli. Quod quidem intellegitur etiam significa- 
tionibus rerum futurarum quae tum dormientibus 
tum vigilantibus portenduntur ; multa praeterea 
ostentis multa extis admonemur, multisque rebus 
ahis quas diuturnus usus ita notavit ut artem 

167 divinationis efficeret. Nemo igitur vir magnus sine 
ahquo adflatu divino umquam fuit. Nec vero 
<id>^ ita refellendum est ut, si segetibus aut 
vinetis cuiuspiam tempestas nocuerit, aut si quid 
e vitae commodis casus abstulerit, eum cui quid 
horum acciderit aut invisum deo aut neglectum 
a deo iudicemus. Magna di curant, parva neglegunt. 
Magnis autem viris prosperae semper omnes res, 
siquidem satis a nostris et a principe philosophiae 
Socrate dictum est de ubertatibus virtutis et copiis. 

168 LXVII. " Haec mihi fere in mentem veniebant 
quae dicenda putarem de natura deorum. Tu autem, 
Cotta, si me audias, eandem causam agas teque et 
principem civem et pontificem esse cogites et, quo- 
niam in utramque partem vobis hcet disputare, hanc 

^ add. Heindorf. 

" In De Divinatione Cicero's brother Quintus sets out in 
Book I. these two kinds of divination, natural, by means of 
dreams and ecstasies, and artificial, through the observation 
of entrails of victims, birds' flight, hghtning and other 
portents; in Book II. Cicero replies, denying divination 


DE NATURA DEORUM, II. Ixvi.— Ixvii. 

Agamemnon or Achilles, certain gods as the com- 
panions of their perils and adventures ; moreover the 
gods have often appeared to men in person, as in the 
cases which I have mentioned above, so testifying 
that they care both for communities and for indi- 
viduals.** And the same is proved by the portents of 
future occurrences that are vouchsafed to men some- 
times when they are asleep and sometimes when they 
are awake. Moreover we receive a number of warn- 
ings by means of signs and of the entrails of victims, 
and by many other things that long-continued usage 
has noted in such a manner as to create the art of 

167 divination. Therefore no great man ever existed who 
did not enjoy some portion of divine inspiration. Nor 
yet is this argument to be di^^proved by pointing to 
cases where a man's cornfields or vineyards have been 
damaged by a storm, or an accident has robbed him 
of some commodity of value, and inferring that the 
victim of one of these misfortunes is the object of 
god's hatred or neglect. The gods attend to great 
matters ; they neglect small ones. Now great men 
always prosper in all their affairs, assuming that 
the teachers of our school and Socrates, the prince 
of philosophy, have satisfactorily discoursed upon 
the bounteous abundance of wealth that virtue 

16S LXVH. " These are more or less the things that Conclusion. 
occurred to me which I thought proper to be said 
upon the subject of the nature of the gods. And for 
your part, Cotta, would you but hsten to me, you 
would plead the same cause, and reflect that you are 
a leading citizen and a pontiff, and you would take 
advantage of the hberty enjoyed by your school of 
arguing both pro and conira to choose to espouse my 



potius sumas, eamque facultatem disserendi quam 
tibi a rhetoricis exercitationibus acceptam amplifi- 
cavit Academia potius huc conferas. Mala enim et 
impia consuetudo est contra deos disputandi, sive 
ex animo id fit sive simulate." 



side, and preferably to devote to this purpose those 
powers of eloquence which your rhetorical exercises 
have bestowed upon you and which the Academy has 
fostered. For the habit of arguing in support of 
atheism, whether it be done from conviction or in 
pretence, is a wicked and an impious practice." 



1 I. Quae cum Balbus dixisset, tum adridens Cotta 
" Sero " inquit " mihi Balbe praecipis quid defendam ; 
ego enim te disputante quid contra dicerem mecum 
ipse meditabar, neque tam refellendi tui causa quam 
ea quae minus intellegebam requirendi. Cum autem 
suo cuique iudicio sit utendum, difficile factu est me 
id sentire quod tu velis." 

2 Hic Velleius " Nescis " inquit " quanta cum 
exspectatione Cotta sim te auditurus. lucundus 
enim Balbo nostro sermo tuus contra Epicurum 
fuit ; praebebo igitur ego me tibi vicissim attentum 
contra Stoicos auditorem. Spero enim te ut soles 
bene paratum venire." 

3 Tum Cotta " Sic mehercule " inquit " Vellei ; 
neque enim mihi par ratio cum Lucilio est ac tecum 

" Qni tandem ? " inquit ille. 

** Quia mihi videtur Epicurus vester de dis inmorta- 
libus non magnopere pugnare : tantum modo negare 
deos esse non audet ne quid invidiae subeat aut 
criminis. Cum vero deos nihil agere nihil curare 


1 I. Cotta smiled when Balbus said this. " It is too Academic 
late, Balbus," he rejoined, " for you to tell me what ^'tSc^*'"' °' 
view I am to support, for while you were discoursing theoiogy. 

I was pondering what arguments I could bring against ^"0^ : Cotta 
you, though not so much for the purpose of refuting admits the 
you as of asking for an explanation of the points Baibus'3 
which I could not quite understand. However, each ^y^°|*con' 
man must use his own judgement, and it is a difficult tent with 
task for me to take the view which you would hke me reilgkm of 
to take." Rome. 

2 Hereupon Velleius broke in : " You cannot think, 
Cotta," said he, " how eager I am to hear you. Our 
good friend Balbus enjoyed your discom-se against 
Epicurus ; so I in my turn will give you an attentive 
hearing against the Stoics. For I hope that you come 
well equipped, as you usually do." 

3 " Yes, to be sure, Velleius," rephed Cotta ; ** for I 
have a very different business before me with Lucihus 
from what I had with you." 

" How so, pray ? " said Velleius. 

" Because I think that your master Epicurus does 
not put up a very strong fight on the question of the 
immortal gods ; he only does not venture to deny 
their existence so that he may not encounter any ill- 
feehng or reproach. But when he asserts that the 
gods do nothing and care for nothing, and that though 



confirmat, membrisque humanis esse praeditos sed 
eorum membrorum usum nullum habere, ludere 
videtur, satisque putare si dixerit esse quandam 

i beatam naturam et aeternam. A Balbo autem 
animadvertisti credo quam multa dicta sint, quam- 
que etiamsi minus vera tamen apta inter se et co- 
haerentia. Itaque cogito ut dixi non tam refellere eius 
orationem quam ea quae minus intellexi requirere. 
Quare Balbe tibi permitto, responderene mihi maUs 
de singuhs rebus quaerenti ex te ea quae parum 
accepi, an universam audire orationem meam." 

Tum Balbus " Ego vero si quid explanari tibi 
voles respondere malo, sin me interrogare non 
tam intellegendi causa quam refellendi, utrurn 
voles faciam : vel ad singula quae requires statim 
respondebo vel cum peroraris ad omnia." 

5 Tum Cotta " Optime " inquit ; " quam ob rem sic 
agamus ut nos ipsa ducet oratio. II. Sed ante quam 
de re, pauca de me. Nom enim mediocriter moveor 
auctoritate tua, Balbe, orationeque ea quae me in 
perorando cohortabatur ut meminissem me et 
Cottam esse et pontificem ; quod eo credo valebat, 
ut opiniones quas a maioribus accepimus de dis 
inmortahbus, sacra caerimonias rehgionesque defen- 
derem. Ego vero eas defendam semper semperque 


they possess limbs like those of men they make no iise 
of those Hnibs, he seems not to be speaking seriously, 
and to think it enough if he affirms the cxistence of 
blessed and everlasting beings of some sort. But as 
for Balbus, I am sure you must have noticed how 
much he had to say, and how though lacking in truth 
it was yet consistent and systematic. Hence what 
I have in mind, as I said, is not so much to refute 
his discourse as to ask for an explanation of the 
things that I could not quite understand. Accord- 
ingly, I offer you the choice, Balbus, whether you 
would prefer that I should question you and you 
reply upon each of the points singly as to which I 
did not quite agree, or that you should hear out my 
entire discourse." 

" Oh," answered Balbus, " I had rather reply about 
any point which you desire to have explained to you ; 
or if you want to question me with a view not so much 
to understanding as to refuting me, I will do which- 
ever you wish, and ^^-ill either reply to each of your 
inquiries at once, or answer them all when you have 
completed your speech." 
6 " Very well," rejoined Cotta, " let us then proceed 
as the argument itself may lead us. II. But before 
we come to the subject, let me say a few words about 
myself. I am considerably influenced by your 
authority, Balbus, and by the plea that you put 
forward at the conclusion of your discourse, when 
you exhorted me to remember that I am both a Cotta 
and a pontiif. This no doubt meant that I ought to 
uphold the behefs about the immortal gods which 
have come down to us from our ancestors, and the 
rites and ceremonies and duties of rehgion. For my 
part I always shall uphold them and always have 



defendi, nec me ex ea opinione quam a maioribus 
accepi de cultu deorum inmortalium ullius umquam 
oratio aut docti aut indocti movebit. Sed cum de 
religione agitur, Ti. Coruncanium P. Scipionem 
P. Scaevolam pontifices maximos, non Zenonem 
aut Cleanthen aut Chrysippum sequor, habeoque 
C. Laehum augurem eundemque sapientem, quem 
potius audiam dicentem de rehgione in illa oratione 
nobili quam quemquam principem Stoicorum. Cum- 
que omnis populi Romani religio in sacra et in 
auspicia divisa sit, tertium adiunctum sit si quid 
praedictionis causa ex portentis et monstris Sibyllae 
interpretes haruspicesve monuerunt, harum ego 
rehgionum nullam umquam contemnendam putavi, 
mihique ita persuasi, Romulum auspiciis Numam 
sacris constitutis fundamenta iecisse nostrae civitatis, 
quae numquam profecto sine summa placatione dec» 
6 rum inmortahum tanta esse potuisset. Habes Balbe 
quid Cotta quid pontifex sentiat ; fac nunc ego 
intellegam tu quid sentias. A te enim philosopho 
rationem accipere debeo rehgionis, maioribus autem 
nostris etiam nulla ratione reddita credere." 

III. Tum Balbus " Quam igitur a me rationem ** 
inquit " Cotta, desideras .'' " 

Et ille " Quadripertita " inquit " fuit divisio tua, 
primum ut velles docere deos esse, deinde quales 
essent, tum ab iis mundum regi, postremo consulere 

** Laelius when praetor, 143 b.c, successfully opposed a 
proposal to transfer the election of the augurs to the people, 
instcad of their being co-opted. Cf. § 43. 


done so, and no eloquence of anybody, learned or 
unlearned, shall ever dislodge me from the behef as 
to the worship of the immortal gods which I have 
inherited from our forefathers. But on any question 
of rehgion I am guided by the high pontifts, Titus 
Coruncanius, Publius Scipio and Pubhus Scaevola, 
not by Zeno or Cleanthes or Chrysippus ; and I have 
Gaius Laelius, who was both an augur and a philo- 
sopher, to whose discourse upon rehgion, in hii 
famous oration,^ I would rather listen than to any 
leader of the Stoics. The rehgionof theRomanpeople 
comprises ritual, auspices, and the third additional 
division consisting of all such prophetic warnings as 
the interpreters of the Sybil or the soothsayers have 
derived from portents and prodigies. Well, I have 
always thought that none of these departments of 
rehgion was to be despised, and I have held the con- 
viction that Romulus by his auspices and Numa by 
his estabhshment of our ritual laid the foundations of 
our state, which assuredly could never have been as 
great as it is had not the fuhest measure of divine 
favour been obtained for it. There, Balbus, is the 
opinion of a Cotta and a pontifT; now oblige me by 
letting me know yours. You are a philosopher, and 
I ought to receive from you a proof of your rehgion, 
whereas I must believe the word of our ancestors even 
without proof." 

III. " What proof then do you require of me, 
Cotta ? " rephed Balbus. 

" You divided your discourse under four heads," J?'®. (o'" 
said Cotta ; " first you designed to prove the exist- thesubject. 
ence of the gods ; secondly, to describe their nature ; 
thirdly, to show that the world is governed by them ; 
and lastly, that they care for the welfare of men. 



eos rebus humanis : haec, si recte memini, partitio 

" Rectissume " inquit Balbus, *' sed expecto quid 

7 Tum Cotta " Primum quidque videamus " inquit, 
" et si id est primum quod inter omnis nisi admodum 
impios convenit, mihi quidem ex animo excuti non 
potest esse deos, id tamen ipsum, quod mihi per- 
suasum est auctoritate maiorum, cur ita sit, nihil tu 
me doces." 

" Quid est " inquit Balbus, " si tibi persuasum 
est, cur a me vehs discere ? " 

Tum Cotta " Quia sic adgredior " inquit " ad 
hanc disputationem quasi nihil umquam audierim de 
dis inmortalibus nihil cogitaverim ; rudem me et 
integrum discipulum accipe et ea quae requiro 

8 " Dic igitur " inquit " quid requiras." 

" Egone ? primum illud, cur, quom^ [perspicuum 
in]^ istam partem^ ne egere quidem oratione dixisscs, 
quod esset perspicuum et inter omnis constarct 
<deos esse>,* de eo ipso tam multa dixeris." 

" Quia te quoque " inquit " animadverti, Cotta, 
saepe cum in foro diceres quam plurimis posses argu- 
mentis onerare iudiccm, si modo eam facultatem tibi 
daret causa. Atque hoc idem et philosophi faciunt 
et ego ut potui feci. Tu autem qui id* quaeris 
simiUter facis ac si me roges cur te duobus contuear 

* quom Forchhammer : quod. ^ secl. Plasberg, 

3 in ista partitione Heindor/. * add. Plasberg» 

^ qui id dett. : quod. 



These, if I remember rightly, were the headings tliat 
you Inid down." 

** You are quite right," said Balbus ; " but now 
tell me what it is that you want to know." 

" Let us take each point in turn," rephed Cotta, r. Tiiedivine 
" and if the first one is the doctrine which is universally j^s^s y^.iJ).^ 
accepted save by absolute infidcls, although I for my 
part cannot be persuaded to surrender my behef that 
the gods exist, nevertheless you teach me no reason 
why this belief, of which lam couvinced on the author- 
ity of our forefathers, should be true." 

" If you are convinced of it," said Balbus, " what 
reason is there for your wanting me to teach you ? ** 

" Because," said Cotta, " I am entering on this dis- 
cussion as if I had never been taught anything or 
reflected at all about the immortal gods. Accept me 
as a pupil who is a novice and entirely untutored, and 
teach me what I want to know." 

" Tell me then," said he, " what do you want to ifthebeiief 

know ^ " inthegods 

^^^"" • is necessary 

" What do I want to kno^v ? First of all, why it was and uni- 
that after saying that this part of your subject did not argument 
even need discussion, because the fact of the divine i^ neediess, 
existence was manifest and universally admitted, awaken 
you nevertheless discoursed at such great length on ^°^^^ 
that very point." 

" It was because I have often noticed that you too, 
Cotta, when speaking in court, overwhehned the 
judge with all the arguments you could think of, 
provided the case gave you an opportunity to do so. 
Well, the Greek philosophers do hkewise, and so did 
I also, to the best of my abihty. But for you to ask 
me this question is just the same as if you were to ask 
me why I look at you with two eyes instead of closing 



oculis et non altero coniveam, cum idem uno adsequi 

9 IV. Tum Cotta ** Quam simile istud sit " inquit 
" tu videris. Nam ego neque in causis, si quid est 
evidens de quo inter omnis conveniat, argumentari 
soleo (perspicuitas enim argumentatione elevatur), 
nec si id facerem in causis forensibus idem facerem 
in hac subtilitate sermonis. Cur coniveres^ autem 
altero oculo causa non esset, cum idem obtutus esset 
amborum, et cum rerum natura, quam tu sapientem 
esse vis, duo lumina ab animo ad oculos perforata nos 
habere voluisset. Sed quia non confidebas tam esse id 
perspicuum quam tu velles, propterea multis argu- 
mentis deos esse docere voluisti. Mihi enim unum 
sat erat, ita nobis maiores nostros tradidisse. Sed tu 

10 auctoritates contemnis, ratione pugnas ; patere igitur 
rationem meam cum tua ratione contendere. 

" Adfers haec omnia argumenta cur di sint, 
remque mea sententia minime dubiam argumen- 
tando dubiam facis. Mandavi enim memoriae non 
numerum solum sed etiam ordinem argumentorum 
tuorum. Primum fuit, cum caelum suspexissemus 
statim nos intellegere esse ahquod numen quo haec 
regantur. Ex hoc illud etiam : 

* Madvig : contueres. 


one of them, seeing that I could achieve the same 
result with one eye as with two.'* 
9 IV. " How far your comparison really holds good," 
rejoined Cotta, " is a question that I will leave to you. 
As a matter of fact in law-suits it is not my practice 
to argue a point that is self-evident and admitted by 
all parties, for argument would only diminish its 
clearness ; and besides, if I did do this in pleading 
cases in the courts, I should not do the same thing in 
an abstract discussion Hke the present. But there 
would be no real reason for your shutting one eye, 
since both eyes have the same field of vision, and 
since the nature of things, which you declare to be 
possessed of wisdom, has willed that we should 
possess two windows pierced from the mind to the 
eyes. You did not really feel confident that the 
doctrine of the divine existence was as self-evident 
as you could wish, and for that reason you attempted 
to prove it with a number of arguments. For my part 
a single argument would have sufficedj namely that 
it lias been handed down to us by our forefathers. 
But you despise authority, and fight your battles 
10 with the weapon of reason. Give permission there- 
fore for my reason to join issue with yours. 

" You adduce all these arguments to prove that 
the gods exist, and by arguing you render doubtful 
a matter which in my opinion admits of no doubt at 
all. For I have committed to memory not only the xottrue 
number but also the order of your arguments. The t|iat the 
first was that when we look up at the sky, we at once heaUns 
perceive that some power exists whereby the heavenly if|i*^gf\° * 
bodies are governed. And from this you went on to r.od of 

QUOte«: Nature;and 

4"'^'-^ • common 

a Book II 4 beliefis 

r>ooK 11. 4. uareliable. 



aspice hoc sublime candens, quem invocant omnes lovem ; 

11 quasi vero quisquani nostrum istum potius quam 
Capitolinum lovem appellet, aut hoc perspicuum sit 
constetque inter omnis, eos esse deos quos tibi Vel- 
leius multique praeterea ne animantis quidem esse 
concedant. Grave etiam argumentum tibi videbatur 
quod opinio de dis inmortalibus et omnium esset et 
cotidie cresceret : placet igitur tantas res opinione 
stultorum iudicari, vobis praesertim qui illos insanos 
esse dicatis ? V. ' At enim praesentis videmus deos, 
ut apud Ptegillum Postumius, in Salaria Vatinius ' ; 
nescio quid etiam de Locrorum apud Sagram proelio. 
Quos igitur tu Tyndaridas appellabas, id est homines 
homine natos, et quos Homerus, qui recens ab illorum 
aetate fuit, sepultos esse dicit Lacedaemone, eos tu 
cantheriis albis nullis calonibus ob viam Vatinio ve- 
nisse existimas et victoriam popuU Romani Vatinio 
potius homini rustico quam M. Catoni qui tum erat 
princeps nuntiavisse ? Ergo et illud in sihce quod 
hodie apparet apud Rcgillum tamquam vestigium un- 

12 gulae. Castoris equi credis esse ? Nonne mavis illud 
credere quod probari potest, animos praeclarorum 
hominum, quales isti Tyndaridae fuerunt, divinos 
esse et aeternos, quam eos qui semel cremati essent 

" i.e.^ the heavenly bodies. " Buok II. 6. 




Behold this dazzling vault of heaven, which all mankind 
as Jove invoke ; 

11 just as if anyone among us really gave the name of 
Jove to your heaven rather than to Jove of the 
Capitol, or as if it were self-evident and universally 
agreed that those beings " are divine whom Velleius 
and many others beside will not even grant you to be 
ahve at all ! Also you thought it a weighty argument 
that the belief in the immortal gods is universally 
held and is spreading every day. Then is anybody 
content that questions of such moment should be 
decided by the behefs of the foohsh ? and particularly 
yourselves, who say that all the fooHsh are mad ? 

V. " But you say^ that the gods appear to us in Thestories 
bodily presence — forinstance, they did to Postumius apfeadng 
at Lake Reofillus and to Vatinius on the Via Salaria ; are mere 
and also some story or other about the battle ot 
the Locrians on the Sagra. Then do you really think 
that the beings whom you call the sons of Tyndareus, 
that is mortal men of mortal parentage, and whom 
Homer, who lived not long after their period, states 
to have been buried at Sparta, came riding on white 
hacks with no retainers, and met Vatinius, and 
selected a rough ccuntryman hke him to whom to 
bring the news of a great national victory, instead of 
Marcus Cato, who was the chief senator at the time ? 
Well then, do you also beheve that the mark in the 
rock resembhng a hoof-print, to be seen at the present 
day on the shore of Lake Regillus, was made by 

12 Castor's horse ? Would you not prefer to beheve the 
perfectly credible doctrine that the souls of famous 
men, hke the sons of Tyndareus you speak of, are 
divine and Hve for ever, rather than that men who 
had been once for ail burnt on a funeral pyre were 



equitare et in acie pugnare potuisse ? aut si hoc fieri 
potuisse dicis, doceas oportet quo modo, nec fabellas 
aniles proferas." 

13 Tum Lucilius " An tibi " inquit " fabellae vi- 
dentur ? Nonne ab A. Postumio aedem Castori et 
Polluci in foro dedicatam, nonne senatus consultum 
de Vatinio vides ? Nam de Sagra Graecorum etiam 
est volgare proverbium, qui quae adfirmant certiora 
esse dicunt quam illa quae apud Sagram. His igitur 
auctoribus nonne debes moveri ? " 

Tum Cotta " Rumoribus " inquit " mecum pugnas, 
Balbe, ego autem a te rationes requiro . . .^ 

14 VI. "... sequuntur quae futura sunt ; efFugere 
enim nemo id potest quod futurum est. Saepe autem 
ne utile quidem est scire quid futurum sit ; miserum 
est enim nihil proficientem angi nec habere ne spei 
quidem extremum et tamen commune solacium, prae- 
sertim cum vos iidem fato fieri dicatis omnia, quod 
autem semper ex omni aeternitate verum fuerit id 
esse fatum ; quid igitur iuvat aut quid adfert ad 
cavendum scire aliquid futurum, cum id certe futurum 
sit ? Unde porro ista divinatio ? Quis invenit fissum 
iecoris, quis cornicis cantum notavit, quis sortis ? 
Quibus ego credo, nec possum Atti Navii quem com- 
memorabas lituum contemnere ; sed qui ista intel- 

^ lacunam signavit Victorius. 

' A part of Cotta's argument has here been lost, including 
a transition to the subject of prophecies and presentiments. 
C/. infr. 16 and Book II. 7. ' Book II. 9. 



able to ride on horseback and fight in a battle ? Or 
if you maintain that this was possible, then you have 
got to explain how it was possible, and not merely 
bring forward old wives' tales." 

13 " Do you really think them old wives' tales ? " 
rejoined Lucihus. " Are you not aware of the temple 
in the forum dedicated to Castor and Pollux by Aulus 
Postumius, or of the resolution of the senate concern- 
ing Vatinius ? As for the Sagra, the Greeks actually 
have a proverbial saying about it : when they make 
an assertion they say that it is * more certain than 
the affair on the Sagra.' Surely their authority must 
carry w^eight with you ? " 

" Ah, Balbus," rephed Cotta, " you combat me 
with hearsay for your weapon, but what I ask of you 
is proof. . . ." 

14 VI. "... the events that are going to happen Divination 
follow ; for no one can escape what is going to happen. wouid^be^"* 
But often it is not even an advantage to know what is useiess, and 
going to happen ; for it is miserable to suffer unavail- prove°the 
ins^ torments, and to lack even the last, yet universal, so^^' 


consolation of hope, especially when your school 
also asserts that all events are fated, fate mean- 
ing that which has always from all eternity been 
true : what good is it therefore to know that some- 
thing is going to happen, or how does it help us to 
avoid it, when it certainly will happen ? Moreover 
whence was your art of divination derived ? Who 
found out the cleft in the Uver ? Who took note of the 
raven*s croaking, or the way in which the lots fall ? 
Not that I don't beheve in these things, or care to 
scoff at Attus Navius's crosier of which you were 
speaking * ; but how did these modes of divination 
come to be understood ? this is what the philosophers 



lecta sint a philosophis debeo discere, praesertim cum 

15 plurimis de rebus divini^ isti mentiantur. ' At medici 
quoque ' (ita enim dicebas) * saepe falluntur.' Quid 
simile medicina, cuius ego rationem \ddeo, et divlna- 
tio, quae unde oriatur non intellego ? Tu autem 
etiam Deciorum devotionibus placatos deos esse 
censes. Quae fuit eorum tanta iniquitas ut placari 
populo Romano non possent nisi viri tales occidissent? 
Consilium illud imperatorium fuit, quod Graeci 
o-rpaT-qyrjixa appellant, sed eorum imperatorum qui 
patriae consulerent vitae non parcerent ; rebantur 
enim fore ut exercitus imperatorem equo incitato se 
in hostem inmittentem persequeretur, id quod evenit. 
Nam Fauni vocem equidem numquam audivi : tibi 
si audivisse te dicis credam, etsi Faunus omnino quid 
sit nescio. VII. Non igitur adhuc, quantum quidem 
in te est, Balbe, intellego deos esse ; quos equidem 
credo esse, sed nihil docent Stoici. 

16 " Nam Cleanthes ut dicebas quattuor modis forma- 
tas in animis hominum putat deorum esse notiones. 
Unus ex his is'' modus est de quo satis dixi, qui est 
susceptus ex praesensione rerum futurarum ; alter 
ex perturbationibus tempestatum et reliquis motibus; 
tertius ex commoditate rerum quas percipimus et 
copia ; quartus ex astrorum ordine caehque constantia. 
De praesensione diximus. De perturbationibus 

^ d^t. : divinis A, B. 
* Dieckhoff: unus is A^ unus ex his B. 

« Book II. 12. » Book II. 6. 



miist teach me, especially as your diviners tell such 

15 a pack of lies. ' Well, but physicians also are often 
wrong ' — this was your argument." But what re- 
semblance is there between medicine, whose rational 
basis I can see, and divination, the source of which 
I cannot understand ? Again, you think that the 
gods were actually propitiated by the sacrifice of the 
Decii. But how can the gods have been so unjust 
that their wrath against the Roman people could 
only be appeased by the death of heroes Hke the 
Decii ? No, the sacrifice of the Decii was a device of 
generalship, or straiegema as it is termed in Greek, 
though a device for generals who were ready to give 
their lives in their country's service ; their notion 
was that if a commander rode full gallop against the 
foe his troops would follow him, and so it proved. As 
for the utterances of a Faun,^ I never heard one, but 
if you say you have, I will take your word for it, al- 
though what on earth a Faun may be I do not know. 
VII. As yet therefore, Balbus, so far as it depends 
on you I do not understand the divine existence ; 
I beheve in it, but the Stoics do not in the least 
explain it. 

16 " As for Cleanthes, his view is, as you were telling invaiidityof 
us, that ideas of the gods are formed in men's minds in ar!uli,^ent' 
four ways. One of these ways I have sufRciently dis- from the 
cussed, the one derived from our foreknowledge of fnlpiring 
future events ; the second is based on meteorological pjienomena 
disturbances and the other changes of the weather ; 

the third on the utility and abundance of the com- 
modities which are at our disposal ; and the fourth 
on the orderly movements of the stars and the regu- 
larity of the licavens. About foreknowledge we have 
spoken. As for meteorological disturbances by land 



caelestibus et maritimis et terrenis non possumus 
dicere, cum ea fiant, non esse multos qui illa metuant 

17 et a dis inmortalibus fieri existument ; sed non id 
quaeritur, sintne aliqui qui deos esse putent : di utrum 
sint necne sint quaeritur. Nam reliquae causae quas 
Cleanthes adfert, quarum una est de commodorum 
quae capimus copia, altera de temporum ordine 
caelique constantia, tum tractabuntur a nobis cum 
disputabimus de providentia deorum, de qua plurima 

18 a te, Balbe, dicta sunt ; eodemque illa etiam differe- 
mus, quod Chrysippum dicere aiebas, quoniam esset 
ahquid in rerum natura quod ab homine effici non 
posset, esse aliquid homine melius, quaeque in domo 
pulchra cum pulchritudine mundi comparabas, et 
cum totius mundi convenientiam consensumque 
adferebas ; Zenonisque brevis et acutulas con- 
clusiones in eam partem sermonis quam modo dixi 
differemus, eodemque tempore illa omnia quae a te 
physice dicta sunt de vi ignea deque eo calore ex 
quo omnia generari dicebas, loco suo quaerentur ; 
omniaque quae a te nudius tertius dicta sunt, cum 
docere velles deos esse, quare et mundus universus et 
sol et luna et stellae sensum ac mentem haberent, 

19 in idem tempus reservabo. A te autem idem illud 
etiam atque etiam quaeram, quibus rationibus tibi 
persuadeas deos esse." 

VIII. Tum Balbus : " Equidem attulisse rationes 


DE NATURA DEORUM, III. vii.— viii. 

and sea, we cannot deny that there are many people 
who are afraid of these occurrences and think them 

17 to be caused by the immortal gods ; but the question 
is not, are there any people who think that the gods 
exist, — the question is, do the gods exist or do they 
not ? As for the remaining reasons adduced by 
Cleanthes, the one derived from the abundance of the 
commodities bestowed upon us, and the other from 
the ordered sequence of the seasons and the regularity 
of the heavens, we will treat of these when we come 
to discuss divine providence, about which you, 

18 Balbus, said a great deal ; and we defer to the same other 
time the argument which you attributed to Chrys- addiced b^j 
ippus, that since there exists something in the uni- Baibus 
verse which could not be created by man, some being ^ ® 
must exist of a higher order than man ; as also your 
comparison of the beautiful furniture in a house with 

the beauty of the world, and your reference to the 
harmony and common purpose of the whole world ; 
and Zeno's terse and pointed little syllogisms mc 
will postpone to that part of my discourse which I 
have just mentioned ; and at the same time all your 
arguments of a scientific nature about the fiery force 
and heat which you alleged to be the universal source 
of generation shall be examined in their place ; and 
all that you said the day before yesterday, when at- 
tempting to prove the divine existence, to show that 
both the world as a whole and the sun and moon and 
stars possess sensation and intelHgence, I will kecp 

19 for the same occasion. But the question I shall have 
to ask you over and over again, as before, is this : 
what are your reasons for believing that the gods 
cxist .'' 

VIII. " Why," repHed Balbus, " I really think I 



mihi \ideor, sed eas tu ita refellis ut, cum me inter- 
rogaturus esse \ideare et ego me ad respondendum 
compararim, repente avertas orationem nec des 
respondendi locum. Itaque maximae res tacitae 
praeterierunt, de divinatione de fato, quibus de quae- 
stionibus tu quidem strictim nostri autem multa 
solent dicere, sed ab hac ea quaestione quae nunc in 
manibus est separantur ; quare si videtur noli agere 
confuse, ut hoc explicemus hac disputatione quod 

20 " Optime " inquit Cotta. " Itaque quoniam quattuor 
in partes totam quaestionem divisisti de primaque 
diximus, consideremus secundam ; quae mihi talis 
videtur fuisse, ut, cum ostendere velles quales di 
essent, ostenderes nullos esse. A consuetudine enim 
oculorum animum abducere difficillimum dicebas ; 
sed, cum deo nihil praestantius esset, non dubitabas 
quin mundus esset deus, quo nihil in rerum natura 
melius esset. Modo possemus eum animantem 
cogitare, vel potius ut cetera ocuHs sic animo hoc 

21 cernere ! Sed cum mundo negas quicquam esse melius, 
quid dicis meUus ? Si pulchrius, adsentior ; si aptius 
ad utihtates nostras, id quocjue adsentior ; sin autem 
id dicis, nihil esse mundo sapientius, nullo modo 
prorsus adsentior, non quod difficile sit mentem ab 


have produced my reasons, but so far from your re- 
futing them, every time when you seem to be on the 
point of subjecting me to an examination and I get 
ready to reply, you suddenly switch off the discussion, 
and do not give me an opportunity of answering. 
And so matters of the first importance have passed 
without remark — such as divination, and fate, sub- 
jects which you dismiss very briefly, whereas our 
school is accustomed to say a great deal about them, 
though they are quite distinct from the topic with 
which we are now deaUng. Please therefore adopt an 
orderly mode of procedure, and in this debate let us 
clear up this question that is now before us." 

20 " By all means," said Cotta ; " and accordingly, n. The 
as you divided the whole subject into four parts, and ^^^Vifr^ 
we have spoken about the first part, let us consider (§§ 20-64). 
the second. It seems to me to have amounted to i^^beantifui 
this : you intended to show what the gods are Hke, but why 
but you actually showed them to be non-existent. ^y^sel^^^ 
For you said that it is very difficult to divert the mind 

from its association with the eyes ; yet you did not 
hesitate to argue that, since nothing is more excellent 
than god, the world must be god, because there is 
nothing in the universe superior to the world. Yes, 
if we could but imagine the world to be alive, or 
rather, if we could but discern this truth with our 
minds exactly as we see external objects with our 

21 eyes ! But when you say that nothing is superior to 
the world, what do you mean by superior ? If you 
mean more beautiful, I agree ; if more suited to our 
convenience, I agree to that too ; but if what you 
mean is that nothing is wiser than the world, I 
entirely and absolutely disagree ; not because it 
is difficult to divorce the mind from the eyes, but 



oculis sevocare, sed quo magis sevoco eo minus id 
quod tu vis possum mente comprehendere. IX. 'Nihil 
est mundo mehus in rerum natura.' Ne in terris 
quidem urbe nostra : num igitur idcirco in urbe esse 
rationem cogitationem mentem putas, aut, quoniam 
non sit,num idcirco existimas formicam anteponendam 
esse huic pulcherrumae urbi, quod in urbe sensus sit 
nullus, in formica non modo sensus sed etiam mens 
ratio memoria ? Videre oportet, Balbe, quid tibi 

22 concedatur, non te ipsum quod vehs sumere. Istum 
enim locum totum illa vetus Zenonis brevis et ut 
tibi videbatur acuta conclusio dilatavit. Zeno enim 
ita concludit : ' Quod ratione utitur id mehus est quam 
id quod ratione non utitur ; nihil autem mundo me- 

23 hus ; ratione igitur mundus utitur.' Hoc si placet, 
iam eflficies ut mundus optime hbrum legere videatur; 
Zenonis enim vestigiis hoc modo rationem poteris 
concludere : ' Quod htteratum est id est mehus quam 
quod non est htteratum ; nihil autem mundo mehus ; 
htteratus igitur est mundus.' Isto modo etiam diser- 
tus et quidem mathematicus, musicus, omni denique 
doctrina eruditus, postremo philosophus.^ Saepe 
dixisti nihil fieri nisi ex eo, nec iham vim esse naturae 
ut sui dissimiha pos>et effingere : concedam non 
modo animantem et sapientem esse mundum sed 
fidicinem etiam et tubicinem, quoniam earum quoque 
artium homines ex eo procreantur ? Nihil igitur 

^ post philosophus addit erit mundus det. 

• The text is certainly corrupt, being self-contradictory 
and contradicting ii. 20. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, III. viii.— ix. 

because the more I do so, the less my mind succecds 
in grasping your meaning. IX. * There is nothing in 
the universe superior to the world.' No more is there 
anytliing on earth superior to our city ; but you do 
not therefore think that our city possesses a reasoning, 
thinking mind ? or, because it does not, you do not 
therefore consider, do you, that an ant is to be 
rated more highly than this supremely beautiful 
city, on the ground that a city does not possess sensa- 
tion whereas an ant has not only sensation, but also a 
mind that reasons and remembers ? You ought to see 
what you can get your opponent to admit, Balbus, not 

22 take for granted anything you hke. The whole of zenoprovf 
this topic of yours was expanded " tersely, and as you *°° m^ich. 
thought effectively, by the famous old syllogism of 

Zeno. Zeno puts the argument thus : ' That which 
is rational is superior to that which is not rational ; 
but nothing is superior to the world ; therefore the 

23 world is rational.' If you accept this conclusion, you 
will go on to prove that the world is perfectly able to 
read a book ; for following in Zeno's footsteps you 
will be able to construct a syllogism as follows : 
' That which is Uterate is superior to that which is 
ilHterate ; but nothing is superior to the world ; 
therefore the world is hterate.' By this mode of 
reasoning the world will also be an orator, and even 
a mathematician, a musician, and in fact an expert in 
every branch of learning, in fine a philosopher. You 
kept repeating that the world is the sole source of all 
created things, and that nature's capacity does not 
include the power to create things unhke herself : 
am I to admit that the world is not only a Hving being, 
and wise, but also a harper and a flute-player, be- 
cause it gives birth also to men skilled in these arts ? 



adfert pater iste Stoicorum quare mundum ratione 
uti putemus, ne cur animantem quidem esse. Non 
est igitur mundus deus ; et tamen nihil est eo melius, 
nihil est enim eo pulchrius, nihil salutarius nobis, 
nihil ornatius aspectu motuque constantius. 

" Quodsi mundus universus non est deus, ne stellae 
quidem, quas tu innumerabihs in deorum numero 
reponebas. Quarum te cursus aequabiles aeternique 
delectabant, nec mehercule iniuria, sunt enim ad- 

24 mirabili incredibihque constantia. Sed non omnia, 
Balbe, quae cursus certos et constantis habent ea 
deo potius tribuenda sunt quam naturae. X. Quid 
Chalcidico Euripo in motu identidem reciprocando 
putas fieri posse constantius, quid freto SiciHensi, 
quid Oceani fervore illis in locis 

Europam Libj-amque rapax ubi dividit unda ? 
Quid ? aestus maritimi vel Hispanienses vel Britan- 
nici eorumque certis temporibus vel accessus vel 
recessus sine deo fieri non possunt ? Vide, quaeso, 
si omnes motus omniaque quae certis temporibus 
ordinem suum conservant divina dicimus, ne tertianas 
quoque febres et quartanas divinas esse dicendum sit, 
quarum reversione et motu quid potest esse con- 
stantius ? Sed omnium talium rerum ratio reddenda 

25 est ; quod vos cum facere non potestis, tamquam in 
aram confugitis ad deum. 

" Et Chrysippus tibi acute dicere videbatur, homo 



Well then, your father of the Stoic school really 
adduces no reason why we should think that the 
world is rational, or even alive. Therefore the world 
is not god ; and nevertheless there is nothing superior 
to the world, for there is nothing more beautiful than 
it, nothing more conducive to our health, nothing 
more ornate to the view, or more regular in motion. 

" And if the world as a whole is not god, neither xhe 
are the stars, which in all their countless numbers you oahe^Srs 
wanted to reckon as gods, enlarging with delight the work 
upon their uniform and everlasting movements, and ' 
I protest with good reason, for they display a mar- 

24 vellous and extraordinary regularity. But not all 
things, Balbus, that have fixed and regular courses 
are to be accredited to a god rather than to nature. 
X. What occurrence do you think could possibly be 
more regular than the repeated alternation of flow in 
the Euripus at Chalcis ? or in the Straits of Messina ? 
or than the eddying ocean-currents in the region 

Europe and Libya by the hurrying wave 
Are sundered ? 

Cannot the tides on the coasts of Spain or Britain ebb 
and flow at fixed intervals of time without a god's in- 
tervention ? Why, if all motions and all occurrences 
that preserve a constant periodic regularity are de- 
clared to be divine, pray shall we not be obhged to 
say that tertian and quartan agues are divine too, for 
nothing can be more regular than the process of their 
recurrence ? But all such phenomena call for a 

25 rational explanation ; and in your inabiHty to give 
such an explanation you fly for refuge to a god. 

" Also you admired the cleverness of an argument Chrys- 
of Chrysippus, who was undoubtedly an adroit and arguments 



sine dubio versutus et callidus (versutos eos appello 
quorum celeriter mens versatur, callidos autem quo- 
rum tamquam manus opere sic animus usu con- 
calluit) ; is igitur * Si aliquid est ' inquit ' quod homo 
efficere non possit, qui id efficit melior est homine ; 
homo autem haec quae in mundo sunt efficere non 
potest ; qui potuit igitur is praestat homini ; homini 
autem praestare quis possit nisi deus ? est igitur 
deus.' Haec omnia in eodem quo illa Zenonis errore 

26 versantur ; quid enim sit mehus, quid praestabihus, 
quid inter naturam et rationem intersit, non distin- 
guitur. Idemque, si dei non sint, negat esse in omni 
natura quicquam homine mehus ; id autem putare 
quemquam hominem, nihil homine esse mehus, sum- 
mae adrogantiae censet esse. Sit sane adrogantis 
pluris se putare quam mundum ; at illud non modo 
non adrogantis sed potius prudentis, intellegere se 
habere sensum et rationem, haec eadem Orionem et 
Caniculam non habere. Et ' Si domus pulchra sit, 
intellegamus eam dominis * inquit ' aedificatam esse, 
non muribus ; sic igitur mundum deorum domum ex- 
istimare debemus.' Ita prorsus existimarem, si illum 
aedificatum esse.. non quem ad modum docebo a 
natura conformatum putarem. 

27 XI. " At enim quaerit apud Xenophontem Socrates 
unde animum arripuerimus si nullus fuerit in mundo. 
Et ego quaero unde orationem unde numeros unde 

" Callidus, ' clever,' is actually derived from callumt 
* hardened skin,' as Cicero su^gests, and so means ' practised,' 

^ The passage here anticipated is lost. • See ii. 18. 



hardy ° thinker (I apply the adjective * adroit ' to as to man'i 

persons of nimble wit, and ' hardy ' to those whose equaUy" ^ 

minds have grown hard with use as the hand is invaiid. 

hardened by work) ; well, Chrysippus argues thus : 

* If anything exists that man is not capable of creat- 

ing, he that creates that thing is superior to man ; 

but man is not capable of creating the objects that we 

see in the world ; therefore he that was capable of so 

doing surpasses man ; but who could surpass man 

save god ? therefore god exists.' The whole of this 

is involved in the same mistake as the argument of 

26 Zcno ; no definition is given of the meaning of 
' superior ' and ' more excellent,' or of the distinction 
between nature and reason. Chrysippus furthermore 
declares that, if there be no gods, the natural universe 
contains nothing superior to man ; but for any man to 
think that there is nothing superior to man he deems 
to be the height of arrogance. Let us grant that it is 
a mark of arrogance to value oneself more highly than 
the world ; but not merely is it not a mark of arro- 
gance, rather is it a mark of wisdom, to realize that 
one is a conscious and rational being, and that Orion 
and Canicula are not. Again, he says ' If we saw a 
handsome mansion, we should infer that it was built 
for its masters and not for mice ; so therefore we 
must deem the world to be the mansion of the gods.' 
Assuredly I should so deem it if I thought it had been 
built hke a house, and not constructed by nature, as 

I shall show that it was.^ refu?ed1 

27 XI. "ButthenyoutellmethatSocratesinXenophon man'» 

asks the question, if the world contains no rational dueto 
soul, where did we pick up ours ? " And I too ask the ^^^^^^' ^^^ 
question, where did we get the faculty of speech, iiature'8 
the knowledge of numbers, the art of music ? unless hamonj. 



cantus ; nisi vero loqui solem cum luna putamus cum 
propius accesserit, aut ad harmoniam canere mundum 
ut Pythagoras existimat. Naturae ista sunt, Balbe, 
naturae non artificiose ambulantis ut ait Zeno, quod 
quidem quale sit, iam videbimus, sed omnia cientis 

28 et agitantis motibus et mutationibus suis. Itaque illa 
mihi placebat oratio de convenientia consensuque na- 
turae, quam quasi cognatione continuata conspirare 
dicebas : illud non probabam, quod negabas id acci- 
dere potuisse nisi ea uno divino spiritu contineretur. 
Illa vero cohaeret et permanet naturae viribus, non 
deorum, estque in ea iste quasi consensus, quam crv/x- 
Trddetav Graeci vocant, sed ea quo sua sponte maior 
est eo minus divina ratione fieri existimanda est. 

29 XII. " Illa autem, quae Carneades adferebat, quem 
ad modum dissolvitis ? Si nuUum corpus inmortale sit, 
nullum esse corpus^ sempiternum ; corpus autem in- 
mortale nuUum esse, ne individuum quidem nec quod 
dirimi distrahive non possit. Cumque omne animal 
patibilem naturam habeat, nullum est eorum quod 
efFugiat accipiendi aUquid extrinsecus, id est quasi 
ferendi et patiendi, necessitatem, et si omne animal 
tale est inmortale nullum est. Ergo itidem, si omne 
animal secari ac dividi potest, nullum est eorum in- 
dividuum, nuUum aeternum ; atqui omne animal ad 
accipiendam vim externam et ferundam paratum est ; 

* corpus: animal (auctore Madvig) Balter. 

" For the ' music of the spheres ' cf. ii. 19, and Plato, Bep. 
X. 617 B. " See ii. 57. « i. 54. 



indeed we suppose that the sun holds conversation 
with the moon when their courses approximate, or 
that the world makes a harmonious music,** as Pyth- 
agoras believes. These faculties, Balbus, are the gifts 
of nature — not nature ' walking in craftsmanhke 
manner ' as Zeno ^ says (and what this means we 
will consider in a moment), but nature by its own 
motions and mutations imparting motion and activity 

28 to all things. And so I fully agreed with the part of 
your discourse ^ that dealt with nature's punctual 
regularity, and what you termed its concordant 
interconnexion and correlation ; but I could not 
accept your assertion that this could not have come 
about were it not held together by a single divine 
breath. On the contrary, the system's coherence and 
persistence is due to nature's forces and not to divine 
power ; she does possess that ' concord ' (the Greek 
term is sympatheia) of which you spoke, but the greater 
this is as a spontaneous growth, the less possible is it 
to suppose that it was created by divine reason. 

29 XII. " Then, how does your school refute the follow- carneades 
ing arguments of Carneades ? If no body is not Hable proved that 
to death, no body can be everlasting ; but no body tiiing 1^'"° 
is not Hable to death, nor even indiscerptible nor in- "Jia^use a ) 
capable of decomposition and dissolution. And every corporeai,' 
Hvlng thing is by its nature capable of feeHng ; there- sionabie'^^^* 
fore there is no Hving thing that can escape the un- 
avoidable HabiHty to undergo impressions from ^vith- 

out, that is to suffer and to feel ; and if every Hving 
thing is Hable to suffering, no Hving thing is not Hable 
to death. Therefore Hkewise, if every Hving thing 
can be cut up into parts, no Hving thing is indivisible, 
and none is everlasting. But every Hving thing is so 
construeted as to be Hable to undergo and to suffer 



mortale igitur omne animal et dissolubile et dividuum 

30 sit necesse est. Ut enim,^ si omnis cera commutabilis 
esset, nihil esset cereum quod commutari non posset, 
item nihil argenteum nihil aeneum si commutabilis 
esset natura argenti et aeris — similiter igitur, si 
omnia [quae sunt]'' e quibus cuncta constant muta- 
biHa sunt, nullum corpus esse potest non mutabile ; 
mutabiUa autem sunt illa ex quibus omnia constant, 
ut vobis videtur ; omne igitur corpus mutabile est. 
At si esset corpus aUquod inmortale, non esset omne 
mutabile. Ita efficitur ut omne corpus mortale sit. 
Etenim omne corpus aut aqua aut aer aut ignis aut 
terra est, aut id quod est concretum ex his aut ex 
ahqua parte eorum ; horum autem nihil est quin 

31 intereat ; nam et terrenum omne dividitur, et umor 
ita molhs est ut facile premi conhdique possit, ignis 
vero et aer omni pulsu facilHme pelHtur naturaque 
cedens est maxume et dissupabihs ; praetereaque 
omnia haec tum intereunt cum in naturam aham 
convertuntur, quod fit cum terra in aquam se vertit 
et cum ex aqua oritur aer, ex aere aether, cumque 
eadem vicissim retro commeant ; quodsi ea inter- 
eunt e quibus constat omne animal, nullum est animal 

32 sempiternum. XIII. Et ut haec omittamus, tamen 
animal nullum inveniri potest quod neque natum 
umquam sit et semper sit futurum ; omne enim animal 
sensus habet ; sentit igitur et caUda et frigida et 

* necesset enim 'pr. B : necesse est. etenim ci. Plasherg. 

* secl. Schoniann : si omnia e quibus quae sunt cuncta 
constant Ileindorf: si ea e quibus constant omnia quaesunt 
Mayor : lacunam signcU Plasherg, 


DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xii.— xiii. 

violence from \vithout ; it therefore follows that 
every hving thing is hable to death and dissolution, 

30 and is divisible. For just as, if all wax were capable 
of change, nothing made of wax would be incapable 
of change, and hkewise nothing made of silver or 
bronze if silver and bronze were substances capable (iii.)cora. 
of change, therefore similarly, if all the elements of ei^^nents 
which all thin^s are composed are hable to chang-e, tiiemseives 

, 111 111 1 1 ^ mntableand 

tnere can be no body not hable to change ; but the destruct- 
elements of which, according to your school, all things '^^®' 
are composed are hable to change ; therefore every 
body is hable to change. But if any body were not 
hable to death, then not every body would be hable 
to change. Hence it follows that every body is hable 
to death. In fact every body consists of either water 
or air or fire or earth, or of a combination of these ele- 
ments or some of them ; but none of these elements 

31 is exempt from destruction ; for everything of an 
earthy nature is divisible, and also hquid substance 
is soft and therefore easily crushed and broken up, 
while fire and air are very readily impelled by impacts 
of all kinds, and are of a consistency that is extremely 
yielding and easily dissipated ; and besides, all these 
elements perish when they undergo transmutation, 
which occurs when earth turns into water, and when 
from water arises air, and from air aether, and wlien 
alternately the same processes are reversed ; but if 
those elements of which every hving thing consists 

32 can perish, no h\dng thing is everlasting. XIII. And, :iv.)sus- 
to drop this hne of argument, nevertheless no hving piLsure° 
thing can be found which either was never born or ^°*^ P*''^ 
will hve for ever. For every hving thing has sensa- 

tion ; therefore it perceives both heat and cold, both 
sweetness and sourness — it cannot tlirough any of the 



dulcia et amara necpotest uUo sensu iucunda accipere, 
non accipere contraria ; si igitur voluptatis sensum 
capit, doloris etiam capit ; quod autem dolorem 
accipit, id accipiat etiam interitum necesse est ; omne 

33 igitur animal confitendum est esse mortale. Praeter- 
ea, si quid est quod nec voluptatem sentiat nec 
dolorem, id animal esse non potest, sin autem quid 
animal est, id illa necesse est sentiat ; et quod ea 
sentit non potest esse aeternum ; et omne animal 
sentit ; nullum igitur animal aeternum est. Praeter- 
ea nuUum potest esse animal in quo non et 
adpetitio sit et declinatio naturalis ; appetuntur 
autem quae secundum naturam sunt, declinantur con- 
traria ; et omne animal adpetit quaedam et tugit a 
quibusdam, quod autem refugit, id contra naturam 
est, et quod est contra naturam, id habet vim inter- 
imendi ; omne ergo animal intereat necesse est. 

34 Innumerabilia sunt ex quibus effici cogique possit 
nihil esse quod sensum habeat quin id intereat ; et- 
enim ea ipsa quae sentiuntur, ut frigus ut calor ut 
voluptas ut dolor ut cetera, cum amphficata sunt 
interimunt ; nec uhum animal est sine sensu ; 
nullum igitur animal aeternum est. XIV. Etenim 
aut simplex est natura animantis, ut vel terrena sit 
vel ignea vel animahs vel umida, quod quale sit ne 
inteUegi quidem potest; aut concreta ex pluribus 

DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xiii.— xiv. 

senses receive pleasant sensations and not receive 
their opposites ; if therefore it is capable of feeHng 
pleasure, it is also capable of feehng pain ; but a 
being which can experience pleasure must necessarily 
also be hable to destruction ; therefore it must be 
admitted that every hving thing is hable to death. 

33 Besides, if there be anything that cannot feel either (v.) po3- 
pleasure or pain, this cannot be a hving thing, and i^fkesand 
if on the other hand anything is ahve, this must disjikes, 
necessarily feel pleasure and pain ; and that which disiikes is 
feels pleasure and pain cannot be everlasting ; and destmctive. 
exery hving thing feels them ; therefore no hving 

thing is everlasting. Besides, there can be no hving 
thing which does not possess natural instincts of 
appetition and avoidance ; but the objects of appe- 
tition are the things which are in accordance \\ith 
nature, and the objects of avoidance are the con- 
trary ; and every hving thing seeks certain things and 
flees from certain things, but that which it flees 
from is contrary to nature, and that which is con- 
trary to nature has the power of destruction ; there- 
fore every h\ang thing must of necessity perish. 

34 There are proofs too numerous to count by which it (vi.) 
can be irrefra^ablv estabhshed that there is nothino; ?^P*bi« o' 
possessed of sensation that does not perish ; in fact sensation, 
the actual objects of sensation, such as cold and heat, 
pleasure and pain, and the rest, when felt in an 
intense degree cause destruction ; nor is any hving 

thing devoid of sensation ; therefore no hving thing 
is everlasting. XIV. For every hving thing must (vii.) com- 
either be of a simple substance, and composed of ['°^*^® ^""^ 
either earth or fire or breath or moisture — and such dissoiubie. 
an animal is inconceivable — , or else of a substance 
compounded of several elements, each having its own 

M 317 


naturis, quarum suum quaeque locum habeat quo 
naturae \i feratur, alia infimum alia summum alia 
medium : haec ad quoddam tempus cohaerere 
possunt, semper autem nullo modo possunt, necesse 
est enim in suum quaeque locum natura rapiatur ; 
nullum igitur animal est sempiternum. 

35 " Sed omnia vestri, Balbe, solent ad igneam vim 
referre, Heraclitum ut opinor sequentes, quem ipsum 
non omnes interpretantur uno modo ; qui quoniam 
quid diceret intellegi noluit, omittamus ; vos autem 
ita dicitis, omnem \dm esse igneam, itaque et ani- 
mantis cum calor defecerit tum interire et in omni 
natura rerum id vivere id vigere quod caleat. Ego 
autem non intellego quo modo calore extincto cor- 
pora intereant,non intereant umore aut spiritu amisso, 

36 praesertim cum intereant etiam nimio calore ; quam 
ob rem id quidem commune est de calido ; verum 
tamen videamus exitum. Ita voltis opinor, nihil esse 
animal intrinsecus in natura atque mundo praeter 
ignem : qui magis quam praeter animam, unde ani- 
mantium quoque constet animus, ex quo animal dici- 
tur ? Quo modo autem hoc quasi concedatur sumitis, 
nihil esse animum nisi ignem ? probabiHus enim vide- 
tur tale quiddam esse animum ut sit ex igni atque 
anima temperatum. Quodsi ignis ex sese ipse ani- 
mal est nulla se aha admiscente natura, quoniam is, 
cum inest in corporibus nostris, efficit ut sentiamus, 
non potest ipse esse sine sensu. Rursus eadem dici 

" A fragment of Heraclitus runs ' The same world of all 
things none of the gods nor any man did make, but it 
always was and is and will be ever-hving fire, being kindled 
by measures and extinguished by measures.' 

' He was called 'the dark'; clarus ob obscuram linguam 
Lucretius i. 639. 


place towards >\hich it travels by natural impulsion, 
one to the bottom, another to the top and another to 
the middle ; such elements can cohere for a certain 
time, but cannot possibly do so for ever, for eacli 
must of necessity be borne away by nature to its 
own place ; therefore no Hving thing is everlasting. 

35 " But your school, Balbus, is wont to trace all things Firw is not 
back to an elemental force of a fiery nature, herein as ess^ential 

I beheve foUowing Herachtus,'* although all do not ^ ^i^^ '» 
interpret the master in one way ; however, as he 
did not wish his meaning to be understood,^ let us 
lcave him out ; but your doctrine is that all force is 
of the nature of fire, and that because of this animal 
creatures perish when their heat fails and also in 
every realm of nature a thing is aUve and vigorous if 
it is wami. But I for my part do not understand how 
organisms should perish if their heat is quenched 
without perishing if deprived of moisture orair,especi- 

36 ally as they also perish from excessive heat ; there- 
fore what you say about heat applies also to the other 
elements. However, let us see what follows. Your 
view, I beheve, is that there is no animate being 
contained within the whole universe of nature except 
fire. Why fire any more than air (anima), of which 
also the soul (animus) of animate beings consists, 
from which the term ' animate ' is derived ? On 
M-hat ground moreover do you take it for granted that 
there is no soul except fire ? It seems more reasonable 
to hold that soul is of a composite nature, and consists 

of fire and air combined. However, if fire is animate b"tif itl» 
in and by itself, without the admixture of any other of feeiing, 
element, it is the presence of fire in our own bodies ^^VsJ^^g.^ 
that causes us to possess sensation, and therefore fire tibie, 
itself cannot be devoid of sensation. Here we can 



possunt : quidquid est enim quod sensum habeat, id 
necesse est sentiat et voluptatem et dolorem, ad quem 
autem dolor veniat ad eundem etiam interitum venire ; 
ita fit ut ne ignem quidem efRcere possitis aeternum. 

37 Quid enim ? non eisdem vobis placet omnem ignem 
pastus indigere, nec permanere ullo modo posse 
nisi alatur ? ali autem solem, lunam, reliqua astra 
aquis, alia dulcibus, alia marinis ? Eamque causam 
Cleanthes adfert 

cur se sol referat nec longius progrediatur 
solstitiali orbi, 

itemque brumaU, ne longius discedat a cibo. Hoc 
totum quale sit mox ; nunc autem concludatur illud : 
quod interire possit id aeternum non esse natura; 
ignem autem interiturum esse nisi alatur; non esse 
igitur natura ignem sempiternum. 

38 XV. " Qualem autem deum intellegere nos pos- 
sumus nuUa virtute praeditum ? Quid enim ? pru- 
dentiamne deo tribuemus, quae constat ex scientia 
rerum bonarum et malarum et nec bonarum nec 
malarum ? cui maU nihil est nec esse potest, quid 
huic opus est dilectu bonorum et malorum ? Quid 
autem ratione, quid intellegentia ? quibus utimur 
ad eam rem ut apertis obscura adsequamur ; at 
obscurum deo nihil potest esse. Nam iustitia, quae 
suum cuique distribuit, quid pertinet ad deos ? 
hominum enim societas et communitas, ut vos 
dicitis, iustitiam procreavit. Temperantia autem 

« See § 32. 

^ Mayor detected this verse quotation from an unknown 
source. Cf. ii. 25. 


repeat the argument employed before ** : whatever 
has sensation must necessarily feel both pleasure and 
pain, but he who is hable to pain must also be hable 
to destruction ; from this it follows that you are 

37 unable to prove fire also to be everlasting. Moreover, especiaiiy 
do you not also hold that all fire requires fuel, and Je.^uireg 
cannot possibly endure unless it is fed ? and that the ^^^^- 
sun, moon and other heavenly bodies draw susten- 

ance in some cases from bodies of fresh water and in 
other cases from the sea ? This is the reason given 
by Cleanthes to explain vvhy 

The sun turns back, nor farther doth proceed 
Upon his summer curve,* 

and upon his winter one hkewise ; it is that he may 
not travel too far away from his food. We will defer 
consideration of the whole of tliis subject ; for the 
present let us end with the following syllogism : 
That which can perish cannot be an eternal sub- 
stance ; but fire will perish if it is not fed ; therefore 
fire is not an eternal substance. 

38 XV. " But what can we make of a god not endowed The recog- 
with any virtue ? Well, are we to assign to god pru- vJrtnes in- 
dence, which consists in the knowledge of things good, compatibie 
things evil, and things neither good nor evil ? to a divine 
being who experiences and can experience nothing JJl'^!^ 
evil, what need is there of the power to choose without 
between things good and evil ? Or of reason, or of in- ciSvabia 
telhgence ? these faculties we employ for the purpose 

of proceeding from the known to the obscure ; but 
nothing can be obscure to god. Then justice, which 
assigns to each his own — what has this to do with the 
gods ? justice, as you tell us, is the offspring of human 
society and of the commonwealth of man. And 



constat ex praetermittendis voluptatibiis corporis, cui 
si locus in caelo est, est etiam voluptatibus. Nam 
fortis deus intellegi qui potest ? in dolore ? an in 
labore ? an in periculo ? quorum deum nihil attingit. 

39 Nec ratione igitur utentem nec virtute ulla prae- 
ditum deum intellegere qui possumus ? 

" Nec vero volgi atque imperitorum inscitiam 
despicere possum, cum ea considero quae dicuntur 
a Stoicis. Sunt enim illa imperitorum : piscem 
Syri venerantur, omne fere genus bestiarum Aegyptii 
consecraverunt ; iam vero in Graecia multos habent 
ex hominibus deos, Alabandum Alabandis, Tenedii 
Tennen, Leucotheam quae fuit Ino et eius Palae- 
monem filium cuncta Graecia, Herculem Aescu- 
lapium Tyndaridas ; Romulum nostri ahosque 
compluris, quos quasi novos et adscripticios cives in 

40 caelum receptos putant. XVI. Haec igitur indocti ; 
quid vos philosophi ? qui mehora ? Omitto illa, sunt 
enim praeclara : sit sane deus ipse mundus — hoc 
credo illud esse 

sublime candens, quem invocant omnes lovem. 
Quare igitur pluris adiungimus deos ? Quanta autem 
est eorum multitudo ! Mihi quidem sane multi viden- 
tur ; singulas enim stellas numeras deos eosque aut 
beluarum nomine appellas, ut Capram ut Nepam 

• The conclusion implied is that no god exists. 

^ Atargatis or Derceto (Dagon), a fish wilh a woman's 
face, worshipped at Ascalon. 


teniperance consists in forgoing bodilv pleasures ; 
so if there is room for temperance in heaven, there is 
also room for pleasure. As for courage, how can i^od 
be conceived as brave ? in enduring pain ? or toil ? or 

39 dano^er ? to none of these is god hable. God then is 
neither rational nor possessed of any of the virtues : 
but such a god is inconceivable ** ! 

" In fact, when I reflect upon the utterances of the Popuiar 
Stoic^, I cannot despise the stupidity of the vulgar S^morl^ 
and the ignorant. With the ignorant you get super- '^"^^^^^^^ 
stitions hke the Syrians' worship of a fish,^ and the deification 
Egyptians' deification of almost every species ofcoTOand°' 
animal ; nay, even in Greece they worship a number wine, and 
of deified human beings, Alabandus at Alabanda, °often*liI^re 
Tennes at Tenedos, Leucothea, formerly Ino, and her are severai 
son Palaemon throughout the whole of Greece, as name). 
also Hercules, Aescuiapius, the sons of Tyndareus ; 
and with our own people Romulus and many others, 
who are beheved to have been admitted to celestial 
citizenship in recent times, by a sort of extension of 

40 the franchise ! XVI. Well, those are the supersti- 
tions of the unlearned ; but what of you philosophers? 
how are your dogmas any better ? I pass over the 
rest of them, for they are remarkable indeed ! but 
take it as true that the world is itself god — for this, I 
suppose, is the meaning of the line 

Yon dazzling vault of heaven, which all mankind 
As Jove invoke. 

Why then are we to add a number of other gods as 
well ? And what a crowd of them there is ! At least 
there seems to me to be a great lot of them ; for you 
reckon each of the stars a god, and either call them 
by the names of animals such as She-goat, Scorpion, 



ut Taurum ut Leonem, aut rerum inanimarum, ut 

41 Argo ut Aram ut Coronam. Sed ut haec concedan- 
tur, reliqua qui tandem non modo concedi sed om- 
nino intellegi possunt ? Cum fruges Cererem, vinum 
Liberum dicimus, genere nos quidem sermonis utimur 
usitato, sed ecquem tam amentem esse putas qui 
illud quo vescatur deum credat esse ? Nam quos ab 
hominibus pervenisse dicis ad deos, tu reddes ratio- 
nem quem ad modum id fieri potuerit aut cur.fien 
desierit, et ego discam hbenter ; quo modo nunc qui- 
dem est, non video quo pacto ille cui * in monte 
Oetaeo illatae lampades' fuerint, ut ait Accius, 
' in domum aeternam patris ' ex illo ardore per- 
venerit ; quem tamen Homerus apud inferos con- 
veniri facit ab Uhxe, sicut ceteros qui excesserant 

42 " Quamquam quem potissimum Herculem colamus 
scire sane velim ; pluris enim tradunt nobis ii qui 
interiores scrutantur et reconditas litteras, antiquissi- 
mum love natum sed item love antiquissimo — nam 
loves quoque pluris in priscis Graecorum htteris 
invenimus : ex eo igitur et Lysithoe est is Hercules 
quem concertavisse cum Apohine de tripode accf pi- 
mus. Alter traditur Nilo natus Aegyptius, quem 
aiunt Phrygias htteras conscripsisse. Tertius est 
ex Idaeis Digitis, cui inferias adferunt.^ Quartus 

^ adferunt dett. : adferunt qui A, B^ adferunt Coi 

" Od. xi. 600 ff. Our text of Homer adds in 11. 602-604. 
that what Odysseus met was a wraith (eiowXoj'), but that 
Heracles himself was feasting with the gods and wedded to 
Hebe. These lines, however, were obeHzed by Aristarchus 
as non-Homeric and inconsistent with the lllad^ which 


Bull, Lion, or of inanimate things such as the Argo, 

41 the Altar, the Crown. But allowing these, how pray 
can one possibly, I do not say allow, but make head 
or tail of the remainder ? When we speak of corn as 
Ceres and wine as Liber, we employ a famihar figure 
of speech, but do you suppose that anybody can be 
80 insane as to beUeve that the food he eats is a god ? 
As for the cases you allege of men who have risen to 
the status of divinity, you shall explain, and I shall be 
glad to learn, how this apotheosis was possible, or 
why it has ceased to take place now. As at present 
informed, I do not see how the hero to whose body 

On Oeta's mount the torches were applied, 
as Accius has it, can have passed froni that burning 
pyre to 

The everlasting mansions of his Sire — , 

in spite of the fact that Homer ° represents Ulysses as 
meeting him. among the rest of those who had de- 
parted this hfe, in the world below ! 

42 " Nevertheless I should Uke to know what par- 
ticular Hercules it is that we worship ; for we are 
told of several by the students of esoteric and re- 
condite writings, the most ancient being the son of 
Jupiter, that is of the most ancient Jupiter likewise, 
for we find several Jupiters also in the early MTitings 
of the Greeks. That Jupiter then and Lysithoe were 
the parents of the Hercules who is recorded to have 
had a tussle \nth ApoUo about a tripod ! We hear 
of another in Egypt, a son of the Nile, who is said to 
have compiled the sacred books of Phrygia. A third 
comes from the Digiti of Mount Ida, who offer sacri- 

speaks of Heracles as killed by the wrath of Hera, and of 
Hebe as a virgin. 



Io\is est <et>^ Asteriae Latonae sororis, qui Tyri 
maxime colitur, cuius Karthaginem filiam ferunt. 
Quintus in India qui Belus dicitur. Sextus hic ex 
Alcmena quem luppiter genuit, sed tertius luppiter 
quoniam ut iam docebo pluris loves etiam accepimus. 

43 XVII. " Quando enim me in hunc locum deduxit 
oratio, docebo meHora me didicisse de colendis dis 
inmortahbus iure pontificio et more maiorum cape- 
duncuHs iis quas Numa nobis rehquit, de quibus in 
illa aureola oratiuncula dicit Laehus, quam rationibus 
Stoicorum. Si enim vos sequar, dic quid ei respon- 
deam qui me sic roget : ' Si di sunt,^ suntne etiam 
Nymphae deae ? si Nymphae, Panisci etiam et Satjnri ; 
hi autem non sunt ; ne Nymphae [deae]' quidem 
igitur. At earum templa sunt pubHce vota et 
dedicata ; ne ceteri quidem ergo di, quorum templa 
sunt dedicata ? Age porro : lovem et Neptunum 
deos* numeras ; ergc etiam Orcus frater eorum deus ; 
et ilH qui fluere apud inferos dicuntur, Acheron 
Cocytus Pyriphlegethon, tum Charon tum Cerberus 

44 di putandi. At id quidem repudiandum ; ne Orcus 
quidem igitur ; quid dicitis ergo de fratribus ? ' 
Haec Carneades aiebat, non ut deos toUeret (quid 
enim philosopho minus conveniens ?) sed ut Stoicos 

* add. Heindorf. * post sunt lacunam signat Mayor, 

^ deae om. dett. * deos dett. : deum A^ B. 

" The argument goes on at § 53» and perhaps §§ 43-52 
should be transposed after § 60 (although the first sentence 
of § 43 seems to belong neither here nor there). 

* See § 6 n. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xvi.— xvii. 

fices at his toml). A fourtli is the son of Jiipitcr and 
Asteria, the sister of Latona ; he is chicfly wor- 
shipped at Tyre, and is said to have been the father 
of the nymph Carthago. Thcre is a fifth in India, 
named Belus. The sixth is our friend the son of 
Alcmena, whose male progenitor was Jupiter, that 
is Jupiter number three, since, as I will now explain, 
tradition tells us of several Jupiters also." 

43 XVII. " For as my discourse has led me to this Carneades 
topic, I will show that I have learnt more about the pJoved^t^' 
proper way of worshipping the gods, according to impossibie 
pontifical law and the customs of our ancestors, from a^iinT^ 
the poor little pots bequeathed to us by Numa, p^*^^^®? 
which Laehus discusses m that dear httle gokien and the 
speech & of his, than from the theories of the thTnTtural, 
Stoics. For if I adopt your doctrines, tell me 

what answer I am to make to one who questions 
me thus : * If gods exist, are the nymphs also 
goddesses ? if the nymphs are, the Pans and Satyrs 
also are gods ; but they are not gods ; therefore 
the nymphs also are not. Yet they possess 
temples vowed and dedicated to them by the nation ; 
are the other gods also therefore who have had 
temples dedicated to them not gods either ? Come 
tell me further : you reckon Jupiter and Neptune 
gods, therefore their brother Orcus is also a god ; and 
the fabled streams of the lower world, Acheron, 
Cocytus and Pyriphlegethon, and also Charon and 

44 also Cerberus are to be deemed gods. No, you say, 
we must draw the hne at that ; well then, Orcus is 
not a god either ; what are you to say about his 
brothers then ? ' These arguments were advanced 
by Carneades, not w^th the object of estabhshing 
atheism (for what could less befit a philosopher }) but 



nihil de dis explicare cominceret ; itaque inseque- 
batur : ' Quid enim ? ' aiebat ' si hi fratres sunt in 
numero deorum, num de patre eorum Saturno negari 
potest, quem volgo maxime colunt ad occidentem ? 
Qui si est deus, patrem quoque eius Caelum eise 
deum confitendum est. Quod si ita est, CaeU 
quoque parentes di habendi sunt, Aether et Dies, 
eorumque fratres et sorores, qui a genealogis antiquis 
sic nominantur, Amor Dolus Metus^ Labor Invidentia 
Fatum Senectus Mors Tenebrae Miseria Querella 
Gratia Fraus Pertinacia Parcae Hesperides Somnia, 
quos omnis Erebo et Nocte natos ferunt.' Aut 
igitur haec monstra probanda sunt aut prima illa 
45 tollenda. XVIII. Quid ? Apollinem Volcanum 
Mercurium ceteros deos esse dices, de Hercule 
Aesculapio Libero Castore Polluce dubitabis ? 
At hi quidem coluntur aeque atque iUi, apud quos- 
dam etiam multo magis. Ergo hi dei sunt habendi 
mortaUbus nati matribus ? Quid ? Aristaeus, qui oUvae 
dicitur inventor, ApoUinis fiUus, Theseus Neptuni, re- 
Uqui quorum patres di, non erunt in deorum numero ? 
Quid quorum matres ? Opinor etiam magis ; ut enim 
iure civiU qui est matre Ubera Uber est, item iure 
naturae qui dea matre est deus sit necesse est. Ita- 
que AchiUem Astypalaeenses insulani sanctissume 
colunt ; qui si deus est, et Orpheus et Rhesus di sunt, 

* Metus dett. : Morbus dett.^ modus Ay B, 


DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xvii.— xviii. 

in order to prove the Stoic thcology worthless ; ae- 
cordingly he iised to piirsiie his inquiry thus : ' Well 
now,' he would say, * if these brothers are included 
among the gods, can we deny the divinity of their 
father Saturn, who is held in the highest reverence 
by the common people in the west ? And if he is 
a god, we must also admit that his father Caelus is a 
god. And if so, the parents of Caelus, the Aether 
and the Day, must be held to be gods, and their 
brothers and sisters, whom the ancient genealogists 
name Love, Guile, Fear, Toil, Envy, Fate, Old Age, 
Death, Darkness, Misery, Lamentation, Favour, 
Fraud, Obstinacy, the Parcae, the Daughters of 
Hesperus, the Dreams : all of these are fabled to be 
the children of Erebus and Night.' Either therefore 
you must accept these monstrosities or you must dis- 
45 card the first claimants also. XVIII. Again, if you 
call Apollo, Vulcan, Mercury and the rest gods, ^\ill 
you have doubts about Hercules, Aesculapius, Liber, 
Castor and Pollux ? But these are wwshipped just 
as much as those, and indeed in some places very 
much more than they. Are we then to deem these 
gods, the sons of mortal mothers ? Well then, will 
not Aristaeus, the reputed discoverer of the olive, 
who was the son of Apollo, Theseus the son of Nep- 
tune, and all the other sons of gods, also be reckoned 
as gods ? What about the sons of goddesses ? I 
think they have an even better claim ; for just as by 
the civil law one whose mother is a freewoman is a 
freeman, so by the law of nature one whose mother is 
a goddess must be a god. And in the island of Asty- 
palaea Achilles is most devoutly worshipped by the 
inhabitants on these grounds ; but if Achilles is a 
god, so are Orpheus and Rhesus, whose mother was a 



Musa matre nati, nisi forte maritumae nuptiae terre- 
nis anteponuntur. Si hi di non sunt, quia nusquam 

46 coluntur, quo modo illi sunt ? Vide igitur ne virtuti- 
bus hominum isti honores habeantur, non immortali- 
tatibus ; quod tu quoque, Balbe, visus es dicere. Quo 
modo autem potes, si Latonam deam putas, Hecatam 
non putare, quae matre Asteria est, sorore Latonae ? 
An haec quoque dea est ? vidimus enim eius aras 
delubraque in Graecia. Sin haec dea est, cur non 
Eumenides ? Quae si deae sunt, quarum et Athenis 
fanum est et apud nos, ut ego interpretor, lucus Furi- 
nae, Furiae deae sunt, speculatrices credo et vindices 

47 facinorum et sceleris. Quodsi tales dei sunt ut rebus 
humanis intersint, Natio quoque dea putanda est, cui 
cum fana circumimus in agro Ardeati rem divinam 
facere solemus; quaequia partusmatronarumtueatur^ 
a nascentibus Natio nominata est. Ea si dea est, di 
omnes ilh qui commemorabantur a te, Honos Fides 
Mens Concordia, ergo etiam Spes Moneta omniaque 
quae cogitatione nobismet ipsi^ possumus fingere. 
Quod si veri simile non est, ne illud quidem est haec 
unde fluxerunt. XIX. Quid autem dicis, si di sunt 
ilU quos cohmus et accepimus, cm' non eodem in 
genere Serapim Isimque numeremus ? quod si 
facimus, cur barbarorum deos repudiemus ? Boves 

^ tuetur B corr. ^ ipsi Davies : ipsis. 

" There was a special worship of Venus at Ardea, an old 
Latin city once important but long before Cicero's time 

DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xviii.— xix. 

Muse, unless perhaps a marriage at the bottom of the 
sea counts higher than a marriage on dry land ! If 
these are not gods, because they are nowhere wor- 

46 shipped, how can the others be gods ? Is not the 
explanation this, that divine honours are paid to 
men's virtues, not to their immortahty ? as you too, 
Balbus, appeared to indicate. Then, if you think 
Latona a goddess, how can you not think that Hecate 
is one, who is the daughter of Latona's sister Asteria ? 
Is Hecate a goddess too ? we have seen altars and 
shrines belonging to her in Greece. But if Hecate is 
a goddess, why are not the Eumenides ? and if they 
are goddesses, — and they have a temple at Athens, 
and the Grove of Furina at Rome, if I interpret that 
name aright, also belongs to them, — then the Furies 
are goddesses, presumably in their capacity of de- 

47 tectors and avengers of crime and wickedness. And 
if it is the nature of the gods to intervene in man's 
affairs, the Birth-Spirit also must be deemed divine, 
to whom it is our custom to offer sacrifice when we 
make the round of the shrines in the Territory of 
Ardea ** : she is named Natio from the word for being 
born (nasci), because she is beUeved to watch over 
married women in travail. If she is divine, so are all 
those abstractions that you mentioned, Honour, 
Faith, Intellect, Concord, and therefore also Faith, 
the Spirit of Money and all the possible creations of 
our own imagination. If this supposition is unhkely, 
so also is the former one, from which all these in- 
stances flow. XIX. Then, if the traditional gods 
whom we worship are really divlne, what reason can 
you give why we should not include Isis and Osiris in 
the same category ? And if we do so, why should we 
repudiate the gods of the barbarians ? We shall 



igitur et equos, ibis accipitres aspidas crocodilos 
pisces canes lupos faelis multas praeterea beluas in 
deorum numerum reponemus. Quae si reicimus,* 

48 illa quoque unde haec nata sunt reiciemus. Quid 
deinde ? Ino dea ducetur et K^vKodka a Graecis a 
nobis Matuta dicetur cum sit Cadmi filia, Circe 
autem et Pasiphae et Aeeta^ e Perseide Oceani 
fiha nati patre Sole in deorum numero non habe- 
buntur ? quamquam Circen quoque coloni nostri 
Circeienses rehgiose colunt. Ergo hanc deam 
duces': quid Medeae respondebis, quae duobus* 
avis Sole et Oceano, Aeeta patre matre Idyia pro- 
creata est ? quid huius Absyrto fratri (qui est apud 
Pacuvium Aegialeus, sed illud nomen veterum htteris 
usitatius) ? qui si di non sunt, vereor quid agat 

49 Ino ; haec enim omnia ex eodem fonte fluxerunt. An 
Amphiaraus erit deus et Trophonius ? Nostri quidem 
pubhcani, cum essent agri in Boeotia deorum inmor- 
tahum excepti lege censoria, negabant inmortahs esse 
uUos qui ahquando homines fuissent. Sed si sunt 
hi di, est certe Erechtheus, cuius Athenis et delubrum 
vidimus et sacerdotem. Quem si deum facimus, quid 
aut de Codro dubitare possumus aut de ceteris qui 
pugnantes pro patriae hbertate ceciderunt ? quod si 
probabile non est, ne illa quidem superiora unde 

eO haec manant probanda sunt. Atque in plerisque 

* reicimus Mayor : reiciamus mss.^ reiciemus ? ed, 
^ Aeetae Baiter : eae e A^ eae B. 
• duces Baiter : ducis, dicis, dices MSS. 
* duobus <dis> Alan. 

• As weh as Matuta. 


therefore have to admit to the list of gods oxen and 
horses, ibises, hawks, asps, crocodiles, fishes, dogs, 
wolves, cats and many beasts besides. Or if we reject 
these, we shall also reject those others from whom 

48 their claim springs. What next ? If Ino is to be 
deemed divine, under the title of Leucothea in Greece 
and Matuta at Rome, because she is the daughter 
of Cadmus, are Circe and Pasiphae and Aeetes, the 
children of Perseis the daughter of Oceanus by the 
Sun, to be not counted in the hst of gods ? in spite of 
the fact that Circe too° is devoutly worshipped at the 
Roman colony of Circei. If you therefore deem her 
divine, what answer will you give to Medea, who, as 
her father was Aeetes and her mother Idyia, had as 
her two grandfathers the Sun and Oceanus ? or 
to her brother Absyrtus (who appears in Pacuvius 
as Aegialeus, though the former name is commoner 
in ancient hterature) ? if these are not divine, I 
have my fears as to what will become of Ino, for tlie 
claims of all of them derive from the same source. 

49 Or if we allow Ino, are we going to make Amphiaraus 
and Trophonius divine ? The Roman tax-farmers, 
fmding that lands in Boeotia belonging to the im- 
mortal gods were exempted by the censor's regula- 
tions, used to maintain that nobody was immortal 
who had once upon a time been a human being. But 
if these are divine, so undoubtedly is Erechtheus, 
whose shrine and whose priest also we saw when at 
Athens. And if we make him out to be divine, what 
doubts can we feel about Codrus or any other persons 
who fell fighting for their country's freedom ? if we 
stick at this, we must reject the earher cases too, 

50 from which these follow. Also it is easy to see that 
in most states the memory of brave men has been 



civitatibus intellegi potest augendae virtutis gratia, 
quo^ libentius rei publicae causa periculum adiret 
optimus quisque, virorum fortium memoriam honore 
deorum immortalium consecratam. Ob eam enim 
ipsam causam Erechtheus Athenis fihaeque eius in 
numero deorum sunt ; item.que Leonaticum est 
delubrum Athenis, quod AeioKopioi nominatur. Ala- 
bandenses quidem sanctius Alabandum colunt, a quo 
est urbs illa condita, quam quemquam nobihum 
deorum ; apud quos non inurbane Stratonicus ut 
multa, cum quidam ei molestus Alabandum deum 
esse confirmaret, Herculem negaret, ' Ergo ' inquit 
61 ' mihi Alabandus tibi Hercules sit iratus.' XX. 
Illa autem, Balbe, quae tu a caelo astrisque ducebas, 
quam longe serpant non vides ? Solem deum esse 
lunamque, quorum alterum ApoUinem Graeci 
alteram Dianam putant. Quodsi Luna dea est, 
ergo etiam Lucifer ceteraeque errantes numerum 
deorum obtinebunt ; igitur etiam inerrantes. Cur 
autem Arqui species non in deorum numero re- 
ponatur ? est enim pulcher, et ob eam causam quia 
speciem habeat^ admirabilem Thaumante dicitur 
<Iris>^ esse nata. Cuius si di\ina natura est, quid 
facies nubibus ? Arcus enim ipse e nubibus efficitur 
quodam modo coloratis ; quarum una etiam Cen- 
tauros peperisse dicitur. Quodsi nubes rettuleris in 
deos, referendae certe erunt tempestates, quae popuh 
Romani ritibus consecratae sunt. Ergo imbres 
nimbi procellae turbines dei putandi. Nostri qui- 

^ <aut> quo Lactantius. 
2 habet dett. * add. Antonius Augustinus. 

" Editors suspect this unknown name : Cicero can hardly 
have coined it to translate the Greek. 


sanctified with divine honours for the purpose of 
promoting valour, to make the bcst men more wilHng 
to encounter danger for their country's sake. This 
is the reason ^vhy Erechtheus and his daughters have 
been deified at Athens, and hkewise there is the 
Leonatic " shrine at Athens, which is named Leo- 
corion. The people of Alabanda indeed worship 
Alabandus, the founder of that city, more devoutly 
than any of the famous deities. And it was there that 
Stratonicus uttered one of his many witty sayings ; 
some person obnoxious to him swore that Alabandus 
was divine and Hercules was not : ' Well and good,' 
said Stratonicus, ' let the wrath of Alabandus fall on 
51 me and that of Hercules on you.' XX. As for your 
deriving rehgion from the sky and stars, do you not 
see what a long way this takes you ? You say that 
the sun and moon are deities, and the Greeks identify 
the former with Apollo and the latter with Diana. 
But if the Moon is a goddess, then Lucifer also 
and the rest of the planets will have to be counted 
gods ; and if so, then the fixed stars as well. But 
why should not the glorious Rainbow be included 
among the gods ? it is beautiful enough, and its mar- 
vellous lovehness has given rise to the legend that 
Iris is the daughter of Thaumas.^ And if the rainbow 
is a divinity, what will you do about the clouds ? The 
rainbow itself is caused by some coloration of the 
clouds ; and also a cloud is fabled to have given birth 
to the Centaurs. But if you enroll the clouds among 
the gods, you will undoubtedly have to enroll the 
seasons, which have been deified in the national 
ritual of Rome. If so, then rain and tempest, storm 
and whirlwind must be deemed divine. At any rate 
* From davfjia^ wonder. 



dem duces mare ingredientes inmolare hostiam 

62 fluctibus consuerunt. lam si est Ceres a gerendo 
(ita enim dicebas), terra ipsa dea est (et ita habetur ; 
quae est enim alia Tellus ?) Sin terra, mare etiam, 
quem Neptunum esse dicebas ; ergo et flumina et 
fontes. Itaque et Fontis delubrum Maso ex Corsica 
dedicavit, et in augurum precatione Tiberinum 
Spinonem Almonem Nodinum alia propinquorum 
fluminum nomina videmus. Ergo hoc aut in inmen- 
sum serpet, aut nihil horum recipiemus ; nec illa 
infinita ratio superstitionis probabitur ; nihil ergo 
horum probandum est. 

63 XXI. " Dicamus igitur, Balbe, oportet contra illos 
etiam qui hos deos ex hominum genere in caelum 
translatos non re sed opinione esse dicunt, quos 
auguste omnes sancteque veneramur. . . . Principio 
loves tres numerant ii qui theologi nominantur, 
ex quibus primum et secundum natos in Arcadia, 

^alte^im patre Aethere, ex quo etiam Proserpinam 
natam ferunt et Liberum, alterum patre Caelo, 
qui genuisse Minervam dicitur, quam principem et 
inventricem belli ferunt, tertium Cretensem Saturni 
filium, cuius in illa insula sepulcrum ostenditur. 
ALocTKovpoL etiam apud Graios multis modis nomi- 
nantur : primi tres, qui appellantur Anaces^ Athenis, 
ex rege love antiquissimo et Proserpina nati, Trito- 

* Anaces Marsus : Anaktes. 

« Cf. ii. 67. " Cf. ii. QQ. 

" §§ 53-60 Mayor transposes to the end of § 42, thus 
supplying a reference for the words ' these gods ' in the 
second line. But the topic of the first sentence is nowhere 
pursued, and perhaps it should be kept where it stands, 
with a mark indicating the loss of a passage that it intro- 
duced, and the rest of §§ 53-60 transferred to § 42. 


it has been the custom of our generals when embark- 
ing on a sea-voyage to sacrifice a victim to the waves. 

62 Again, if the name of Ceres is derived from her 
bearing fruit, as you said," the earth itself is a goddess 
(and so she is beheved to be, for she is the same as the 
deity Tellus). But if the earth is divine, so also is 
the sea, which you identified with Neptune ^ ; and 
therefore the rivers and springs too. This is borne 
out by the facts that Maso dedicated a Temple of 
Fons out of his Corsican spoils, and that the Augurs' 
litany includes as we may see the names of Tiberinus, 
Spino, Almo, Nodinus, and other rivers in the neigh- 
bourhood of Rome. Either therefore this process 
wuU go on indefinitely, or we shall admit none of 
these ; and this unhmited claim of superstition will 
not be accepted ; therefore none of these is to be 

63 XXI. " Accordingly^^^Balbus^wealsoought torefute Refutation 
the theory that these gods, who are deified human theory that 
beings, and who are the objects of our most devout deified 
and universal veneration, exist not in reaUty but in beings exist 
imagination. . . In the first place, the so-called theo- Jhou^St. 
logians enumerate threeJupiters, of whom the first Listof 
and second were born, they say, in Arcadia, the father ^^^^g ^^^^ 
of one being Aethfir, who is also fabled to be the shared by 
progenitor of Proserpine and Liber, and of the other fndi^vkiuais. 
Caelus, and this one is said to have begotten Minerva, 

the fabled patroness and originator of warfare ; the 
third is the Cretan Jove, son of Saturp ; his tomb 
is shown in that island. The Dioscuri also have a 
number of titles in Greece. The first set, called Anaces 
at Athens, the sons of the very ancient King Jupiter 
and Proserpine, are Tritopatreus, Eubuleiis and 



patreus Eubuleus Dionysus, secundi love tertio nati 
et Leda Castor et Pollux, tertii dicuntur a non nullis 
Alco et Melampus et Tmolus, Atrei filii, qui Pelope 
54 natus fuit. lam Musae primae quattuor love altero 
natae, Thelxinoe Aoede Arche Melete, secundae 
love tertio et Mnemosyne procreatae novem, tertiae 
Piero natae et Antiopa, quas Pieridas et Pierias 
solent poetae appellare, isdem nominibus et eodem 
numero quo proximae superiores. Cumque tu Solem 
quia solus esset appellatum esse dicas, Soles ipsi 
quam multi a theologis proferuntur. Unus eorum 
love natus nepos Aetheris, alter Hyperione, tertius 
Volcano NiU fiHo, cuius urbem Aegyptii volunt esse 
eam quae HehopoHs appellatur, quartus is quem 
heroicis temporibus Acantho Rhodi peperisse dicitur, 
<pater>* lalysi Camiri Lindi Rhodi, quintus qui 
Colchis fertur Aeetam et Circam procreavisse. 

65 XXII. Volcani item complures : primus Caelo natus, 
ex quo et Minerva Apolhnem eum' cuius in tutela 
Athenas antiqui historici esse voluerunt, secundus 
Nilo natus, Phthas* ut Aegyptii appellant, quem 
custodem esse Aegypti volunt, tertius ex tertio love 
et lunone, qui Lemni fabricae traditur praefuisse, 
quartus Memaho natus, qui tenuit insulas propter 

66 Siciham quae Volcaniae nominabantur. Mercurius 
unus Caelo patre Die matre natus, cuius obscenius 

^ add. Davies. ^ Aponinum is Davies, 

^ Phthas Gyraldus i Opas. 

» See ii. 68. 
* i.e., volcanic : the Lipari are meant. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xxi.— xxii. 

Dionysus. The second set, the sons of the third Jove 
and Leda, are Castor and Pollux. The third are 
named by some people Alco, Melampus and Tmolus, 

64 and are the sons of Atreus tlie son of Pelops. Again, 
the first set of MliSfiS are four, the daughters of the 
second Jupiter, Thelxinoe, Aoede, Arche and Melete ; 
the second set are the ofFspring of the third Jupiter 
and Mnemosyne, nine in number ; the third set are 
the daughters of Pierus and Antiope, and are usually 
called by the poets the Pierides or Pierian Maidens ; 
they are the same in number and have the same names 
as the next preceding set. The sun's name Sol you 
derive " from his being sole of his kind, but tKe theo- 
logians produce a number even of Suns ! One is the 

^ son of Jove and grandson of Aether ;/%nQth&r the 
son of Hyperion ; the thirdjpf Vulcan the son of Nile, 
— this is the one -svho the Egyptians say is lord of the 
city named Heliopolis ^the fourth is the one to whom 
Acanthe is said to have given birth at Rhodes in 
the heroic age, the father of lalysus, Camirus, Lindus 
and Rhodus ; the fifth is the one said to have be- 

56 gotten Aeetes and Circe at Colchi. XXII. There are 
also severarVulcans ; the first, the son of the Sky, 
was reputed the father by Minerva of the Apollo 
said by the ancient historians to be the tutelary deity 
of Athens ; the second, the son of Nile, is named by 
the Egyptians Phthas, and is deemed the guardian of 
Egypt ; the third is the son of the third Jupiter and 
of Juno, and is fabled to have been the master of a 
smithy at Lemnos ; the fourth is the son of Memahus, 
and lord of the islands near Sicily which used to be ^ 't 

66 named the Isles of Vulcan.^ One Mercury has the f^.-s/^^^J 
Sky for father and the Day for mother ; he is repre- ^ 

sented in a state of sexual excitation traditionally 



excitata natura traditur quod aspectu Proserpinae 
commotus sit, alter Valentis et Phoronidis^ filius is 
qui sub terris habetur idem Trophonius, tertius love 
tertio natus et Maia, ex quo et Penelopa Pananatum 
ferunt, quartus Nilo patre, quem Aegyptii nefas 
habent nominare, quintus quem colunt Pheneatae, 
qui Argum dicitur interemisse ob eamque causam 
Aegyptum profugisse atque Aegyptiis leges et litteras 
tradidisse : hunc Aegyptii Theuth^ appellant, 
eodemque nomine anni primus mensis apud eos 

67 vocatur. Aesculapiorum primus Apolhnis, quem 
Arcades colunt, qui specillum invenisse primusque 
vohius dicitur obhga\dsse, secundus secundi Mercurii 
frater : is fulmine percussus dicitur humatus esse 
Cynosuris ; tertius Arsippi et Arsinoae, qui primus 
purgationem alvi dentisque evolsionem ut ferunt 
invenit, cuius in Arcadia non longe a Lusio flumine 
sepulcrum et lucus ostenditur. XXIII. Apollinum 
antiquissimus is quem paulo antea^ e Vulcano natum 
esse dixi custodem Athenarum, alter Corybantis 
fihus natus in Creta, cuius de illa insula cum love 
ipso certamen fuisse traditur, tertius love tertio 
natus etLatona, quem ex Hyperboreis Delphos ferunt 
advenisse, quartus in Arcadia, quem Arcades No/xtov* 
appellant quod ab eo se leges ferunt accepisse. 

58 Dianae item plures : prima lovis et Proserpinae, 

* Coronidis Daviea. ^ Theuth Baiter : Theyn. 

• ante ci, Plasberg, * 'Nd/uoy Huet : nomionem. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xxii.— xxiii. 

said to be due to passion inspired by the sight of 
Proserpine. Another is the son of Valens and 
Phoronis ; this is the subterranean Mercury identi- 
fied with Trophonius. The third, the son of the 
third Jove and of Maia, the legends make the father 
of Pan by Penelope. The fourth has Nile for father ; 
the Egyptians deem it sinful to pronounce his name. 
The fifth, worshipped by the people of Pheneus, is 
said to have killed Argus and consequently to have 
fled in exile to Egypt, where he gave the Egyptians 
their laws and letters. His Egyptian name is Theuth, 
which is also the name in the Egyptian calendar for 

67 the first month of the year. Of the various ^esculapii 
the first is the son of Apollo, and is worshipped by the 
Arcadians ; he is reputed to have invented the probe 
and to have been the first surgeon to employ spHnts. 
The second is the brother of the second ^lercury ; he 
is said to have been struck by lightning and buried at 
Cynosura. The third is the son of Arsippus and 
Arsinoe, and is said to have first invented the use of 
purges and the extraction of teeth ; his tomb and 
grove are shown in Arcadia, not far from the river 
Lusius. XXIII. The most ancient of th e Apollo sJs 
th e one whom I stated just before to be the son of 
Vulcan and the guardian of Athens. The s econd is 
the son of Corybas, and was born in Crete ; tradition 
says that he fought with Jupiter himself for the 
possession of that island. Th e third is the son of the 
third Jupiter and of Latona, and is reputed to have 
come to Delphi from the Hyperboreans. The fourt h 
belongs to Arcadia, and is called by the Arcadians 

58 No?nios, as being their traditional lawgiver. Like- 

wise there are several Dianas. The first, daughter of ^^ 
Jupiter and Proserpine, is said to have given birth to 



quae pinnatum Cupidinem genuisse dicitur ; secunda 
notior, quam love tertio et Latona natam accepl- 
mus ; tertiae pater Upis traditur Glauce mater : 
eam saepe Graeci Upim paterno nomine appellant. 
Dionysos multos habemus: primum love et Proserpina 
natum, secundum Nilo, qui Nysam dicitur inter- 
emisse, tertium Cabiro patre, eumque regem Asiae 
praefuisse dicunt, cui Sabazia sunt instituta, quartum 
love et Luna, cui sacra Orphica putantur confici, 
quintum Niso natum et Thyone, a quo Trieterides 

69 constitutae putantur. Venus prima Caelo et Die 
nata, cuius Ehde delubrum vidimus, altera spuma 
procreata, ex qua et Mercurio Cupidinem secundum 
natum accepimus, tertia love nata et Diona, quae 
nupsit Volcano, sed ex ea et Marte natus Anteros 
dicitur, quarta Syria Cyproque concepta,^ quae Astarte 
vocatur, quam Adonidi nupsisse proditum est. Mi- 
nerva prima, quam Apolhnis matrem supra diximus, 
secunda orta Nilo, quam Aegyptii Saitae colunt, 
tertia illa quam a love generatam supra diximus, 
quarta love nata et Coryphe Oceani fiha, quam Ar- 
cades KopLav nominant et quadrigarum inventricem 
ferunt, quinta Pallantis, quae patrem dicitur inter- 
emisse virginitatem suam violare conantem, cui pin- 

60 narum talaria adfigunt. Cupido primus Mercurio et 

' a Syria Cyproque accepta ? Mayor. 

" Perhaps the Latin should be altered to give ' we 
obtained from Syria and Cyprus.' 



the ^\inged Cupid. The second is more celebrated ; 

tradition makes her the daughter of the third Jupiter 

and of Latona. The father of the third is recorded to 

have been Upis, and her mother Glauce ; the Greeks 

often call her by her father's name of Upis. We have 

a number o f Dionysi. The.£rst_is the son of Jupiter 5 Z^' 

and Proserpine ; tnesecond. of Xile — he is the fabled 

slayer of Nysa. The father of the third is Cabirus ; 

it is stated that he was king over Asia, and the 

Sabazia were instituted in his honour. The fourth . 

is the son of Jupiter and Luna ; the Orphic rites are 

beheved to be celebrated in his honour. The ,:fifth is 

the son of Nisus and Thyone, and is beheved to have 

59 cstabUshed the Trieterid festival. The first Venus is 
the daughter of the Sky and the Day ; I have seen 
her temple at EHs. The second was engendered from 
the sea-foam, and as we are told became the mother 
by Mercury of the second Cupid. The third is the 
daughter of Jupiter and Dione, who wedded Vulcan, 
but who is said to have been the mother of Anteros by 
Mars. The fourth was conceived of Syria and Cyprus," 

and is called Astarte ; it is recorded that she married . 

Adonis. The first Minerva is the one whom we men- -«s, P^'^^^ 
tioned above as the mother of Apollo. The second 
sprang from the Nile, and is worshipped by the 
Egyptians of Sais. The third is she whom we men- 
tioned above as begotten by Jupiter. The fourth is 
the daughter of Jupiter and Coryphe the daughter of 
Oceanus, and is called Koria by the Arcadians, who 
say that she was the inventor of the four-horsed 
chariot. The fifth is Pallas, who is said to have slain 
her father when he attempted to violate her maiden- 
hood ; she is represented with wings attached to her 

60 ankles. The first Cupid is said to be the son of Mer- 


Diana prima natus dicitur, secundus Mercurio et 
Venere secunda, tertius qui idem est Anteros Marte 
et Venere tertia. Atque haec quidem aliaque eius 
modi ex vetere Graeciae fama collecta sunt, quibus 
intellegis resistendum esse ne perturbentur reli- 
giones ; vestri autem non modo haec non refellunt 
verum etiam confirmant interpretando quorsum 
quidque pertineat. Sed eo iam unde huc digressi 
sumus revertamur. 

6i XXI\\ ** . . . Num censes igitur subtiliore ratione 
opus esse ad haec refellenda } Nam mentem fidem 
spem virtutem honorem victoriam salutem concordiam 
ceteraque eius modi rerum vim habere videmus, non 
deorum. Aut enim in nobismet insunt ipsis, ut mens 
ut spes ut fides ut virtus ut concordia, aut optandae 
nobis sunt, ut honos ut salus ut victoria ; quarum 
rerum utihtatem video, video etiam consecrata 
simulacra, quare autem in iis vis deorum insit tum 
intellegam cum^ cognovero. Quo in genere vel 
maxime est Fortuna numeranda, quam nemo ab 
inconstantia et temeritate seiunget, quae digna certe 
non sunt deo. 

62 " lam vero quid vos illa delectat explicatio fabula- 
rum et enodatio nominum .'' Exsectum a fiho Caelum, 
vinctum itidem a fiho Saturnum, haec et aha generis 
eius('em ita defenditis ut ii qui ista finxerunt non 

^ cum <ex te> Bouhier. 

<» See note on § 53. The introduction of the next topio 
seems to have been lost. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xxiii.— xxiv. 

cury and the first Diana, the second of Mercury and 
the second Venus, and the third, who is the same as 
Anteros, of Mars and the third Venus. 

" These and other similar fables have been cuUed 
from the ancient traditions of Greece ; you are aware 
that we ought to combat tliem, so that reHgion may 
not be undermined. Your school however not merely 
do not refute them, but actually confirm them by 
interpreting their respective meanings. But let us 
now return to the point from which we digressed to 
this topic. 

61 XXIV. "'* ... Do you then think that any more For the 
subtle argument is needed to refute these notions ? demed ab- 
Intelligence, faith, hope, virtue, honour, victory, ■^tractions 
safety, concord and the other things of this nature and^so^"'^ ' 
are obviously abstractions, not personal deities. ^[fe^oriza 
For they are either properties inherent in ourselves, tions and 
for instance intelhgence, hope, faith, virtue, concord, etym'c>'^ 
or objects of our desire, for instance honour, safety, logiis. 
victory. I see that they have value, and I am also 
aware that statues are dedicated to them ; but why 

they should be held to possess divinity is a thing that 
I cannot understand without further enhghtenment. 
Fortune has a very strong claim to be counted in this 
list, and nobody will dissociate fortune from incon- 
stancy and haphazard action, which are certainly 
unworthy of a deity. 

62 " Again, why are you so fond of those allegorizing 
and etymological methods of explaining the mytho- 
logy .'' The mutilation of Caelus by his son, and like- 
wise the imprisonment of Saturn by his, these and 
similar figments you rationalize so effectively as to 



modo non insani sed etiam fuisse sapientes videantur. 
In enodandis autem nominibus quod miserandum sit 
iaboratis : * Saturnus quia se saturat annis, Mavors 
quia magna vertit, Minerva quia minuit aut quia 
minatur, Venus quia venit ad omnia, Ceres a gerendo.' 
Quam periculosa consuetudo ; in multis enim nomini- 
bus haerebitis : quid Veiovi facies, quid Volcano ? 
quamquam quoniam Neptunum a nando appellatum 
putas, nullum erit nomen quod non possis una littera 
explicare unde ductum sit ; in quo quidem magis tu 

63 mihi natare visus es quam ipse Neptunus. Magnam 
molestiam suscepit et minime necessariam primus 
Zeno post Cleanthes deinde Chrysippus, commenti- 
ciarum fabularum reddere rationem, vocabulorum^ 
cur quidque ita appellatum sit causas expUcare. 
Quod cum facitis, illud profecto confitemini, longe 
aUter se rem habere atque hominum opinio sit ; eos 
enim qui di appellantur rerum naturas esse non 
figuras deorum. XXV. Qui tantus error fuit ut 
perniciosis etiam rebus non modo nomen deorum 
tribueretur sed etiam sacra constituerentur ; Febris 
enim fanum in Palatio et <Orbonae ad>^ aedem 
Larum et aram Malae Fortunae EsquiUis consecra- 

64 tam videmus. Omnis igitur tahs a philosophia 
pellatur error ut cum de dis inmortahbus disputemus 
dicamus indigna^ dis immortaUbus ; de quibus habeo 
ipse quod* sentiam, non habeo autem quod* tibi 
adsentiar. Neptunum esse dicis animum cum intelle- 

^ vocabulorumque dett. 
2 add, ed. Bononiensis 1494. 
■ indigna det. : digna B^ cett. valde corrupti. 
■«quod . . . quod Ernesti : quid . . . quid. 

" For this and the foUowing etymologies see ii. 64-67. 

^ Or perhaps " tind out the derivation by the hght of one 

DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xxiv.— xxv. 

make out their authors to have been not only not 
idiots, but actually philosophers. But as for your 
strained etymologies, one can only pity your mis- 
placed ingenuity ! Saturnus is so called because he 
is ' sated with years,' ° Mavors because he ' subverts 
the great,' Minerva because she ' minishes,' or be- 
cause she is * minatory,' Venus because she ' visits ' 
all things, Ceres from gero ' to bear.' What a dan- 
gerous practice ! with a great many names you will 
be in difficulties. What will you make of Vejovis, or 
Vulcan ? though since you think the name Neptune 
comes from nare ' to swim,' there will be no name of 
whichyou couldnot make the derivation clearby alter- 
ing one letter ^ : in this matter you seem to me to be 

63 more at sea than Neptune himself ! A great deal of 
quite unnecessary trouble was taken first by Zeno, then 
by Cleanthes and lastly by Chrysippus, to rationaUze 
these purely fanciful myths and explain the reasons 
for the names by which the various deities are called. 
But in so doing you clearly admit that the facts are 
widely different from men's beUef, since the so-called 
gods are really properties of things, not divine persons 
at all. XXV. So far did this sort of error go, that 
even harmful things were not only given the names 
of gods but actually had forms of worship instituted 
in their honour : witness the temple to Fever on the 
Palatine, that of Orbona the goddess of bereavement 
close to the shrine of the Lares, and the altar conse- 

64 crated to Misfortune on the Esquiline. Let us there- 
fore banish from philosophy entirely the error of 
making assertions in discussing the immortal gods 
that are derogatory to their dignity : a subject on 
which I know what views to hold myself, but do not 
know how to agree to your views. You say that Nep- 



gentia per mare pertinentem, idem de Cerere ; 
istam autem intellegentiam aut maris aut terrae 
non modo comprehendere animo sed ne suspicione 
quidem possum attingere. Itaque aliunde mihi 
quaerendum est ut et esse deos et quales sint di 
discere possim ; quahs tu eos esse vis <vide ne esse 
65 non possint. Nunc^ videamus ea quae sequuntur, 
primum deorum<ne> providentia mundus regatur, 
deinde consulantne di rebus humanis. Haec enim 
mihi ex tua partitione restant duo ; de quibus si 
vobis videtur accuratius disserendum puto." 

" Mihi vero " inquit Velleius " valde videtur ; nam 
et maiora exspecto et iis quae dicta sunt vehementer 

Tum Balbus " Interpellare te " inquit " Cotta, 
nolo, sed sumemus tempus ahud ; efficiam profecto 
ut fateare. Sed . . . 

nequaquam istuc istac ibit ; magna inest certatio. 
nam ut ego illi supplicarem tanta blandiloquentia, 
ni ob rem ^ — 

66 XXVI. Parumne ratiocinari videtur et sibi ipsa 
nefariam pestem machinari ? IUud vero quam calhda 
ratione : 

qui volt^ quod volt, ita dat se res ut operam dabit — 

^ supplet Plasherg. 
• ni ob rem Vahlen : niobem. ' volt esse dett. 

<» A considerable passage hias been lost, part of it being 
according to Plasberg thefragments preserved by Lactantius ; 
see p. 384-. 

* These verses are from the Medea of Ennius, and corre- 
spond to Euripides, Medea 365 ff. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xxv.— xxvi. 

tune is the rational soul that pervades the sea ; and 
similarly for Ceres ; but your notion of the sea or the 
land possessing a rational intelligence is not merely 
something that I cannot fully understand, but I have 
not the shghtest inkhng what it means. Accordingly 
I must seek elsewhere for instruction both as to the 
existence and as to the nature of the gods ; as for 
your account of them <perhaps it may be impossible. 
65 Now> let us consider the next topics — first whether m. Provi. 
the world is ruled by divine providence. and then ^*^"tiai 
whether the gods have regard for the affairs of man- of the 
kind. For these are the two that I have left of the "§"55^^ 
heads into which you divided the subject ; and if you 
gentlemen approve, I feel that they require a some- 
what detailed discussion." 

" For my part," said Velleius, " I approve entirely, 
for I anticipate something more important still to 
come, and I also strongly agree ^vith what has been 
said ah'eady." 

" I do not want to interrupt you with questions," 
added Balbus, " we vWll take another time for that : 
I warrant I will bring you to agree. But . , . " 

Nay, 'twill not be ; a struggle is in store, £V. Provi- 

What, should I fawn on him and speak him fair, dential care 

Save for my purpose — ** forman(§65 

^ ^ ^ toend). 

66 XXVI. Is there any lack of reasoning here, think you, '^^^^, §^'^ °' 
and is she not plotting dire disaster for herself ? injury 
Again, how cleverly reasoned is the saying : rbenefltl'^" 

For him that wills that which he wills, the event from'^^^ 

Shall be as he shall make it ! * tragedy. 

• ' Where there's a will there's a way.' The quotation is 
assigned to Ennius. 

N S49 


qui est versus omnium seminator malorum. 

ille traversa mente mi hodie tradidit repagula 

quibus ego iram omnem recludam atque illi perniciem dabo, 

mihi maerores illi luctum, exitium illi exilium mihi. 

Hanc videlicet rationem, quam vos divino beneficio 
homini solum tributam dicitis, bestiae non habent ; 

67 videsne igitur quanto munere deorum simus adfecti ? 
Atque eadem Medea patrem patriamque fugiens, 

postquam pater 
adpropinquat iamque paene ut conprehendatur parat, 
puerum interea obtruncat membraque articulatim dividit 
perque agros passim dispergit corpus : id ea gratia 
ut, dum nati dissipatos artus captaret parens, 
ipsa interea effugeret, illum ut maeror tardaret sequi, 
sibi salutem ut familiari pareret parricidio. 

68 Huic ut scelus sic ne ratio quidem defuit. Quid ? 
ille funestas epulas fratri conparans nonne versat huc 
et illuc cogitatione rationem ? 

maior mihi moles, maius miscendumst malum, 
qui illius acerbum cor contundam et conprimam. 

XXVII. Nec tamen ille ipse est praetereundus 

qui non sat habuit coniugem inlexe in stuprum, 

de quo recte et verissume loquitur Atreus : 

*• Again from the Medea of Ennius ; ef. Eur. Med. 371 f., 
394 ff. 

" Possibly from the Medea of Accius, cf. ii. 89. This part 
of the story is not in Euripides. 

*■ This and the three following quotations are from the 
Atreus of Acciiis. Atreus deliberates how to take vengeance 
on his brother Thyestes for seducing his wife Aerope. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xxvi.— xxvii. 

Yet this verse contains the seeds of every kind of 

He with misguided mind 
This day hath put the keys into my hand 
Wherewith I will unlock my utmost wrath 
And work his ruin ; grief shall be my portion 
And sorrow his ; mine exile, his extinction.* 

This gift of reason forsooth, which according to your 
school divine beneficence has bestowed on man alone, 

67 the beasts do not possess ; do you see then how great 
a boon the gods have vouchsafed to us ? And Medea 
hke^\ise, when flying from her father and her father- 

when her sire drew near, 
And now was all but in the act to seize her, 
Her boy she did behead, and joint by joint 
Severed his Hmbs, and all about the fields 
His body strewed : the same with this intent, 
That, while her father strove to gather up 
Her son's dismember'd members, in the meantime 
She might herself escape, so that his grief 
Should hinder his pursuit, and she win safety 
By most unnatural murder of her kin.* 

68 Medea was criminal, but also she was perfectly 
rational. Again, does not the hero plotting the 
direful banquet for his brother turn the design this 
way and that in his thoughts ? 

More must I moil and bigger bale must brew, 
Whereby to quell and crush his cruel heart.* 

XXVII. Nor must we pass over Thyestes himself, who 

Was not content to tempt my wife to sin — 

an offence of which Atreus speaks correctly and ^ith 
perfect truth — 



, . . quod re in summa summum esse arbitror 

periclum, matres coinquinari regias, 
contaminari stirpem ac misceri^ genus. 

At id ipsum quam callide, qui regnum adulterio 
quaereret : 

adde^ (inquit) huc, quod mihi portento caelestum pater 
prodigium misit, regni stabilimen mei, 
agnum inter pecudes aurea clarum coma 
quondam Thyestem clepere ausum esse e regia, 
qua in re adiutricem coniugem cepit sibi. 

69 Videtume summa inprobitate usus non sine summa 
esse ratione ? Nec vero scaena solum referta est his 
sceleribus, sed multo* vita communis paene maioribus. 
Sentit domus unius cuiusque, sentit forum, sentit 
curia campus socii provinciae, ut quem ad modum 
ratione recte fiat sic ratione peccetur, alterumque 
et a paucis et raro, alterum et saepe et a plurimis, 
ut satius fuerit nullam omnino nobis a dis in- 
mortalibus datam esse rationem quam tanta cum 
pernicie datam. Ut vinum aegrotis, quia prodest 
raro nocet saepissime, melius est non adhibere om- 
nino quam spe dubiae salutis in apertam perniciem 
incurrere, sic haud scio an mehus fuerit humano 
generi motum istum celerem cogitationis, acumen, 
sollertiam^ quam rationem vocamus, quoniam pesti- 
fera est multis, admodum paucis salutaris, non dari 

* ac misceri Ribheck : admisceri. 

* adde Scriverius : addo. 

• multo <magis> ? Mayor, 



the which I deem the heiprht of peril 
In matters of high state, if royal mothers 
Shall be debauched, the royal blood corrupted, 
The hneage mixed. 

But how craftily this very crime is plotted by his 
brother, employing adultery as a means to gain tlie 
throne : 

Thereto withal (says Atreus) the heavenly sire did send nie 

A warning portent, to confirm my reign — 

A lamb, con?;picuous among the flock 

With fleece of gold, Thyestes once did dare 

To steal from out my palace, and in this deed 

My consort did suborn as his accompHce. 

69 Do you see that Thyestes, while acting with extreme 
wickedness, displayed complete rationality as M-ell ? 
And not only does the stage teem with crimes of this 
sort, but ordinary life even more so, and with almost 
worse crimes. Our private homes ; the law-courts, 
the senate, the hustings ; our allies, our provinces — 
all have cause to know that just as right actions may 
be guided by reason, so also may wrong ones, and 
that whereas few men do the former, and on rare 
occasions, so very many do the latter, and frequently ; 
so that it would have been better if the immortal gods 
had not bestowed upon us any reasoning faculty at 
all than that they should have bestowed it with such 
mischievous results. Wine is seldom beneficial and 
very often harmful to the sick, and therefore it is 
better not to give it to them at all than to run a 
certain risk of injury in the doubtful hope of a cure ; 
similarly it would perhaps have been better if that 
nimbleness and penetration and cleverness of thought 
which we term * reason,' being as it is disastrous to 
many and wholesome to but few, had never been given 
to thc human race at all, than that it should have been 



70 omnino quam tam munitice et tam large dari. Quam 
ob rem si mens voluntasque divina idcirco consuluit 
hominibus quod iis est largita rationem, iis solis con- 
suluit quos bona ratione donavit, quos videmus si 
modo uUi sunt esse perpaucos. Non placet autem 
paucis a dis inmortalibus esse consultum ; sequitur 
erffo ut nemini consultum sit. 


XXVIII. " Huic loco sic soletis occurrere : non 
idcirco non optume nobis a dis esse provisum quod 
multi eorum beneficio perverse uterentur ; etiam 
patrimoniis multos male uti, nec ob eam causam eos 
beneficium a patribus nullum habere. Quisquamne 
Istuc negat ? aut quae est in coUatione ista simiUtudo ? 
Nec enim Herculi nocere Deianira voluit cum ei 
tunicam sanguine Centauri tinctam dedit, nec 
prodesse Pheraeo lasoni is qui gladio vomicam eius 
aperuit quam sanare medici non potuerant. Multi 
enim et cum obesse vellent profuerunt et cum pro- 
desse obfuerunt ; ita non fit ex eo quod datur ut 
voluntas eius qui dederit appareat, nec si is qui 
accepit bene utitur, idcirco is qui dedit amice dedit. 

71 Quae enim libido quae avaritia quod facinus aut 
suscipitur nisi consilio capto aut sine animi motu et 
cogitatione, id est ratione, perficitur ? Nam omnis 
opinio ratio est, et quidem bona ratio si vera, mala 
autem si falsa est opinio. Sed a deo tantum ratio- 
nem habemus, si modo habemus, bonam autem 

" Pliny, N.H. vii. 51, implies that this was a wound 
inflictcd hy an enemy in battlc : Seneca, Benef. ii. 18. 8, 
seems to spcak of the attempt of an assassin. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xxvii.— xxviii. 

70 given in such bounteous abundance. If therefore the Oniy the 
divine intelhgence and will displayed care for men's usa^o?"^ 
^\ elfare because it bestowed upon them reason, it reason is 
cared for the welfare of those only to whom it gave and^hat ' 
virtuous reason, whom we see to be very few, if not dependson 

, - . __. , •' ' ourselves. 

entirely non-existent. \V e cannot, nowever, suppose 
that the immortal gods have cared for only a few ; 
it follows therefore that they have cared for none. 

XXVIII. " This line of argument is usually met by 
your school thus : it does not follow, you say, that 
the gods have not made the best provision for us 
because many men employ their bounty \^Tongly ; 
many men make bad use of their inheritances, but 
this does not prove that they have received no benefit 
from their fathers. Does anybody deny this ? and 
where is the analogy in your comparison ? When 
Deianira gave Hercules the shirt soaked in the 
Centaur's blood, she did not intend to injure him. 
When the soldier with a stroke of his sword opened 
Jason of Pherae's tumour which the physicians had 
failed to cure, he did not intend to do him good.** 
Plenty of people have done good when they intended 
to do harm and harm when they intended to do good. 
The nature of the gift does not disclose the will of the 
giver, and the fact that the recipient makes good use 
of it does not prove that the giver gave it with friendly 

71 intentions. Is there a single act of lust, of avarice 
or of crime, which is not entered on dehberately or 
which is not carried out with active exercise of 
thought, that is, by aid of the reason ? inasmuch as 
every behef is an activity of reason — and of reason 
that is a good thing if the beUef is true, but a bad 
thing if it is false. But god bestows upon us (if 
indeed he does) merely reason — it is we who make 



rationem aut non bonam a nobis. Non enim ut patri- 
monium relinquitur sic ratio est homini beneficio 
deorum data ; quid enim potius hominibus dedissent 
si iis nocere voluissent ? iniustitiae autem intem- 
perantiae timiditatis quae semina essent, si his vitiis 
ratio non subesset ? 

XXIX. " Medea modo et Atreus commemora- 
bantur a nobis, heroicae personae, inita subductaque 

72 ratione nefaria scelera meditantes. Quid ? levitates 
comicae parumne semper in ratione versantur ? 
parumne subtiliter disputat ille in Eunucho : 

quid igitur faciam ? . . . 

exclusit, revocat ; redeam ? non si me obsecret. 

Ille vero in Synephebis Academicorum more contra 

communem opinionem non dubitat pugnare ratione, 

qui * in amore sunimo ' * summaque inopia ' suave 

esse dicit 

parentem habere avarum, inlepidum, in liberos 
difficilem, qui te nec amet nec studeat tui — 

73 atque huic incredibih sententiae ratiunculas sug- 
gerit : 

aut tu illum fructu fallas aut per litteras 
avertas aliquod nomen aut per servolum 
percutias pavidum ; postremo a parco patre 
quod sumas, quanto dissipes libentius ! 

Idemque facilem et hberalem patrem incommodum 
esse amanti filio disputat : 

• Terence, Eun. Act i. init, 
" See on i. 13. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xxviii.— xxix. 

it good or the reverse. The divine bestowal of reason 
upon man is not in itself an act of beneficence, like 
the bequest of an estate ; for what other gift could the 
gods have given to men in preference if their intention 
had been to do them harm ? and from what seeds 
could injustice, intemperance and cowardice spring, 
if these vices had not a basis in reason .'* 

XXIX. " We alluded just now to Medea and 
Atreus, characters of heroic legend, planning their 
atrocious crimes 'with a cool calculation of profit and 

72 loss. But what of the frivolous scenes of comedy ? Exampies 
do not these show the reasoning faculty constantly abusc of 
emploved ? Does not that younf^ nian in the Eunuch " reason fiora 
argue subtly enough : 

What shall I do then ? . . . 

She shut me out, and now she calls me back ; 

Well, shall I go ? No, not if she implores me. 

While the one in the Young Comrades ^ does not 
hesitate to employ the weapon of reason, in true 
Academic style, to combat received opinion, when 
he says 

'Tis sweet, when deep in love and deep in debt, 

To have a niggardly and ungracious sire, 

Who loves you not and cares not for your weal — 

73 an extraordinary dictum for which he subjoins some 
reasons of a sort : 

Thcn either you may cheat him of a rent, 

Or forge a document and intercept 

A debt thafs due to him, or send your page-boy 

To trick him with some scare ; and last of all, 

How much more fun it is to squander money 

Which you have screwed out of a stingy father ! 

And he proceeds to argue that a kind and generous 
father is a positive inconvenience to a son in love : 



qiiem neque quo pacto fallam nec quid inde auferam 
nec quem dolum ad eum aut machinam commoliar 
scio quicquam : ita omnes meos dolos fallacias 
praestrigias praestrinxit commoditas patris. 

Quid ergo isti doli, quid machinae, quid fallaciae 
praestrigiaeque num sine ratione esse potuerunt ? O 
praeclarum munus deorum, ut Phormio possit dicere : 

cedo senem ; iam instructa sunt mi in corde consilia omnia ! 
74 XXX. " Sed exeamus e theatro, veniamus in forum. 
Sessum It praetor. Quid ut iudicetur ? Qui tabu- 
larium incenderit. Quod facinus occultius ? at^ 
se Q. Sosius splendidus eques Romanus ex agro 
Piceno fecisse confessus est. Qui transscripserit 
tabulas pubhcas. Id quoque L. Alenus fecit, cum 
chirographum sex primorum imitatus est : quid 
hoc homine sollertius ? Cognosce ahas quaestiones, 
auri Tolossani, coniurationis lugurthinae ; repete 
superiora, TubuU de pecunia capta ob rem iudican- 
dam, posteriora, de incestu rogatione Peducaea, 
tum haec cotidiana, sicae veneni^ peculatus, testa- 
mentorum etiam, lege nova quaestiones. Inde illa 
actio * ope consihoque tuo furtum aio factum esse,' 
inde tot iudicia de fide mala, tutelae, mandati, pro 
socio, fiduciae, rehqua quae ex empto aut vendito aut 
conducto aut locato contra fidem fiunt, inde iudicium 

1 at B : ad ^, id Davies, at id Schiitz. 
2 veneni dett. : venena A, B. 

" Toulouse joined the Cimbri in their revolt, and was 
sacked by Q. Servilius Caepio, 106 b.c. ; the temples contained 
large stores of gold. Caepio was most severely punished 
for sacrilege on his return to R,ome. 


DE NATURA DEORUiM, III. xxix.— xxx. 

How Vm to cheat him, what to levy ofF him, 
What plot to plan or trick to play upon him, 
I can't imagine : all my tricks and dodges 
My father's generosity has out-tricked. 

Well then, how can those plots and devices, those 
dodges and tricks have come into existence with- 
out reasoning ? What a noble gift of the gods, that 
enables Phormio to say : 

Produce the old boy — my plans are all prepared ! 

Ji XXX. " But let us quit the theatre and visit the law- and from 
courts. The praetor is about to take his seat. What court& ' 
is the trial to be about ? To fmd out M'ho set fire to 
the record office, How couldyou have a craftier crime ? 
yet Quintus Socius, a distinguished Roman knight, 
confessed he had done it. To find out who tampered 
with the public accounts. Well, this again was done 
by Lucius Alenus, M-hen he forged the handwriting 
of the six senior treasury clerks ; what could be 
craftier than this fellow ? Note other trials — the 
aifair of the gold from Toulouse," Jugurtha's con- 
spiracy ; go back to an earher period, and take the 
trial of Tubulus for giving a bribed verdict, or to a 
later one, and take the trial for incest on Peducaeus's 
motion, and then the trials under the new law, the 
cases of assassination, poisoning, embezzlement and 
forgery of wills, that are daily occurrences at the 
present time. Reason is the source of the charge 
* I declare that with your aid and counsel a theft was 
committed ' ; hence spring all the trials for breach of 
trust as to a guardianship, commission, in virtue of 
partnership,trusteeship,and allthe othercases arising 
frombreach of faith inpurchase or sale or hire or lease; 
hence procedure on the public behalf in a private suit 



publicum rei privatae lege Plaetoria, inde everricu- 
lum malitiarum omnium iudicium de dolo malo, quod 
C. Aquillius familiaris noster protulit, quem dolum 
idem Aquillius tum teneri putat cum aliud sit simu- 
76 latum aliud actum. Hanc igitur tantam a dis inmor- 
talibus arbitramur malorum sementim esse factam ? 
Si enim rationem hominibus di dederunt, malitiam 
dederunt ; est enim malitia versuta et fallax ratio 
nocendi ; iidem etiam di fraudem dederunt, facinus 
ceteraque, quorum nihil nec suscipi sine ratione nec 
effici potest. Utinam igitur, ut illa anus optat 

ne in nemore Pelio securibus 
caesae accidissent abiegnae ad terram trabes, 

gic istam calliditatem hominibus di ne dedissent ! 
qua perpauci bene utuntur, qui tamen ipsi saepe a 
male utentibus opprimuntur, innumerabiles autem 
improbe utuntur, ut donum hoc divinum rationis et 
consilii ad fraudem hominibus, non ad bonitatem 
impertitum esse videatur. 
76 XXXI. " Sed urgetis identidem hominum esse 
istam culpam, non deorum — ut si medicus gravitatem 
morbi, gubernator vim tempestatis accuset ; etsi hi 
quidem homuncuh, sed tamen ridicuH : ' Quis enim 
te adhibuisset ' dixerit quispiam * si ista non essent ? ' 
Contra deum hcet disputare hberius : ' In hominum 
^itiis ais esse culpam : eam dedisses hominibus ratio- 

" This law made the cheating of young men by money- 
lenders a criminal oifence, conviction carrying ineligibility 
for public office. 

" Probably this gave action for forms of fraud not coming 
under any previous formula. 

■= The opening lines of Ennius's Medea, translated from 
Euripides : ei^' ^cpeXe . . . /atjS' iv vdirat.(Ti HrjXlov ireaeiv wore 
Tfxrjdelcra ve6KT]. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xxx.— xxxi. 

under the law of Plaetorius '^ ; hence that net to catch 
wrong-doing of all sorts, the * action for mahcious 
fraud ' ^ promulgated by our friend Gaius AquiUius, a 
charge of fraud that AquilHus hkewise holds to be 
proved when a man has pretended to do one thing 

75 and has done another. Do we then really think that 
this enormous crop of evil was sown by the immortal 
gods ? For if the gods gave man reason, they gave 
him malice, for malice is the crafty and covert plan- 
ning of harm ; and Ukewise also the gods gave him 
trickery and crime and all the other wickednesses, 
none of which can be either planned or executed 
without reasoning. * If only.' as the old nurse prays 
in the tragedy, 

Pelion's glades had never seen 
The axe fell to the earth the pine-tree trunks," 

so if only the gods had never given to man that cun- 
ning which you speak of ! Which very few use well, 
and even these themselves are all the same often 
crushed by those who use it badly ; whereas count- 
less numbers use it wickedly, and make it seem that 
this divine gift of reason and of wisdom was imparted 
to man for the purpose of deception and not of honest 

76 XXXI. " But you keep insisting that mankind and Providence 
not the gods are to blame for this. That is as if a foreseen'^ 
physician should plead the severity of the disease, or thatman 

a hehnsman the violence of the storm. Though these reason, and 
are mere men — but even for them it would be an ^^!^^'^ °°^ 
absurd plea : ' if it were not so,' anybody would bestowed it. 
rejoin, * who would have employed you ? ' But a god 
one might rebut more roundly : ' You say that the 
fault hes in men's vices ; you ought to have given 
men a rational faculty of such a nature as would have 



nem, quae vitia culpamque excluderet.' Ubi igitur 
locus fuit errori deorum ? Nam patrimonia spe bene 
tradendi relinquimus, qua possumus falli ; deus falli 
qui potuit ? An ut Sol in currum cum Phaethontem 
fiUum sustuht, aut Neptunus cum Theseus Hippo- 
lytum perdidit, cum ter optandi a Neptuno patre 

77 habuisset potestatem ? Poetarum ista sunt, nos 
autem philosophi esse volumus, rerum auctores, non 
fabularum. Atque hi tamen ipsi di poetici si scissent 
perniciosa fore illa fihis, peccasse in beneficio puta- 
rentur. Ut^ si verum est quod Aristo Chius dicere 
solebat, nocere audientibus philosophos iis qui bene 
dicta male interpretarentur (posse enim asotos ex 
Aristippi, acerbos e Zenonis schola exire), prorsus, 
si qui audierunt vitiosi essent discessuri quod per- 
verse philosophorum disputationem interpretarentur, 
tacere praestaret philosophos^ quam iis qui se audis- 

78 sent nocere : sic, si homines rationem bono consiho a 

dis immortaUbus datam in fraudem maUtiamque con- 

vertunt, non dari iUam quam dari humano generi 

meUus fuit. Ut, si medicus sciat eum aegrotum 

qui iussus sit vinum sumere meracius sumpturum 

statimque periturum, magna sit in culpa, sic vestra 

ista providentia reprehendenda , quae r ationem dederit 

^ ut Davies : et. 
' philosophos dett. : philosophis A^ B. 

" Poseidon gave his son Theseus, King of Athens, three 
wishes. Theseus wished the death of his son Hippolytus, 
falsely accused by his siep-mother Phaedra of love for her. 
Poseidon sent a sea-bull that scared Hippolytus's chariofc- 
horses, and he was killed. 


precluded vice and crime.' What room therefore was 
there for error on the part of the gods ? We men 
bequeath legacies in the hope of bestowing them 
beneficially, a hope in which we may be deceived ; 
but how could god be deceived ? As the Sun was, 
when he gave his son Phaethon a ride in his chariot ? 
or Neptune, when his bestowal on his son of permis- 
sion for three wishes resulted in Theseus' causing the 

77 death of Hippolytus ° ? These are fables of the poets, 
whereas we aim at being philosophers, who set down 
facts, not fictions. And all the same, even these gods 
of poetry would be held guilty of mistaken kindness 
if they knew that their gifts would bring their sons 
disaster. Just as, if a favourite saying of Aristo of 
Chios was true, that philosopHers are harmful to 
their hearers when the hearers put a bad interpreta- 
tion on doctrines good in themselves (for he allowed 
it was possible to leave the school of Aristippus a 
profligate, or that of Zeno cantankerous), then 
clearly, if their pupils were likely to go away de- 
praved because they misinterpreted the philosophers' 
discourses, it would be better for the philosophers 
to keep silence than to do harm to those Mho heard 

78 them : similarly, if men abuse the faculty of reason, 
bestowed on them ^\-ith a good intention by the im- 
mortal gods, by employing it to cheat and wTong 
their fellows, it would have been better for it not 
to be bestowed upon the human race than to be 
bestowed. Just as, supposing a doctor to know that a 
patient for whom he prescribes wine \W11 be certain 
to drink it ^^lth too little water and vriW die on the 
spot, that doctor would be greatly to blame, so your 
Stoic pro^idence is to be censured for bestowing 
reason upon those whom it knew to be going to use 



iis quos scierit ea perverse et inprobe usuros. Nisi 
forte dicitis eam nescisse. Utinam quidem ! sed 
non audebitis, non enim ignoro quanti eius nomen 

79 XXXII. " Sed hic quidem locus concludi iam 
potest. Nam si stultitia consensu omnium philo- 
sophorum maius est malum quam si omnia mala et 
fortunae et corporis ex altera parte ponantur, 
sapientiam autem nemo adsequitur, in summis malis 
omnes sumus quibus vos optume consultum a dis 
inmortalibus dicitis. Nam ut nihil interest utrum 
nemo valeat an nemo possit valere, sic non intellego 
quid intersit utrum nemo sit sapiens an nemo esse 

" Ac nos quidem nimis multa de re apertissuma ; 
Telamo autem uno versu locum totum conficit cur 
di homines neglegant : 

nam si curent, bene bonis sit, maie malis ; quod nunc 

Debebant illi quidem omnis bonos efficere, siquidem 

80 hominum generi consulebant ; sin id minus, bonis 
quidem certe consulere debebant. Cur igitur duo 
Scipiones, fortissimos et optimos viros, in Hispania 
Poenus oppressit ? cur Maximus extuHt filium con- 
sularem ? cur Marcellum Hannibal interemit ? cur 
Paulum Cannae sustulerunt ? cur Poenorum cru- 
deUtati Reguh corpus est praebitum ? cur Africanum 
domestici parietes non texerunt ? Sed haec vetera 

* From Ennius's Telamon : the hero is bewailing the 
death of Ajax. 

^ See ii. 14 note e, 

DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xxxi.— xxxii. 

it WTongly and evilly. Unless perhaps you say that 
providence did not know. I only wish you would ! 
but you \\\\\ not dare to, for I am well aware how 
liighly you esteem its name. 

79 XXXII. " But this topic we may now bring to an Man'3iack 
end. For if by the general consent'of all philosophers proves^Jh^e 
folly is a greater e^il than all the ills of fortune and of indifference 
the body when placed in the scale against it, and if |]o the ' 
wisdom on the other hand is attained by nobody, we, "j.^jj''"^^^* 
for whose welfare you say that the gods have cared and the 
most fully, are really in the depth of misfortune. JJg^^P^^e^^ 
For just as it makes no difference whether no one is 

in good health or no one can be in good health, so I do 
not understand what difference it makes whether 
no one is ^\-ise or no one can he wise. 

" However, we are dweUing too long on a point 
that is perfectly clear. Telamo dispatches the whole 
topic of proving that the gods pay no heed to man 
in a single verse : 

For if they cared for men, good men would prosper 
And bad men come to grief ; but this is not so.* 

Indeed the gods ought to have made all men good, 

80 if they really cared for the human race ; or faihng 
that, they certainly ought at all events to have cared 
for the good. Why then were the two Scipios, the 
bravest and noblest of men, utterly defeated by the 
Carthaginians in Spain ? why did Maximus bury 
his son, a man of consular rank ? why did Hannibal 
slay Marcellus ? why did Cannae prove the ruin 
of Paulus ? why was the person of Regulus sur- 
rendered to the cruelty of the Carthaginians ? why 
was not Africanus shielded by the walls of his home * ? 
But these and numerous other instances are of long 


et alia permulta ; propiora videamus. Cur avun- 
culus meus, vir innocentissumus idemque doctissu- 
mus P. Rutilius, in exilio est ? cur sodalis meus 
interfectus domi suae Drusus ? cur temperantiae 
prudentiaeque specimen ante simulacrum Vestae 
pontifex maximus est Q. Scaevola trucidatus ? 
cur ante etiam tot civitatis principes a Cinna inter- 
empti ? cur omnium perfidiosissimus C. Marius Q. 
Catulum praestantissuma dignitate virum mori potuit 

81 iubere ? Dies deficiat si velim enumerare^ quibus 
bonis male evenerit,nec minus si commemorem quibus 
improbis optime. Cur enim Marius tam feliciter 
septimum consul domi suae senex est mortuus ? cur 
omnium crudelissimus tam diu Cinna regnavit ? At 
dedit poenas. XXXIII. Prohiberi melius fuit im- 
pedirique ne tot summos viros interficeret quam ipsum 
aliquando poenas dare. Summo cruciatu supplicio- 
que Q. Varius, homo importunissumus, periit ; si 
quia Drusum ferro Metellum veneno sustulerat, 
illos conservari meUus fuit quam poenas sceleris 
Varium pendere. Duodequadraginta annos Dio- 
nysius tyrannus fuit opulentissumae et beatissumae 

82 civitatis ; quam multos ante hunc in ipso Graeciae 
flore Pisistratus ! * At Phalaris, at Apollodorus 
poenas sustuHt.' Multis quidcm ante cruciatis et 
necatis. Et praedones multi saepe poenas dant, 
nec tamen possumus dicere non pluris captivos 

* enumerare Ernesti : numerare. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xxxii.— xxxiii. 

ago ; let iis look at more recent cases. Why is my 
uncle Publius Rutilius, a man of stainless honour and 
also of consummate learning, now in exile ? wliy 
was my comrade Drusus murdered in his owti home ? 
why was that pattern of high principle and of wisdom, 
the chief pontifF Quintus Scaevola, assassinated in 
front of the statue of ^'esta ? why before that were 
so many leading citizens also made away ^\ith by 
Cinna ? why had that monster of treachery Gaius 
Marius the power to order the death of that noblest 

81 of mankind, Quintus Catulus ? The day would be 
too short if I desired to recount the good men visited 
by misfortune ; and equally so were I to mention 
the wicked who have prospered exceedingly. For 
why did Marius die so happily in his own home, an 
old man and consul for the seventh time ? why did 
that monster of cruelty Cinna lord it for so long ? 
You Mill say that he was punished. XXXIII. It 
would have been better for him to be hindered and 
prevented from murdering so many eminent men, 
than finally to be punished in his turn. That bar- 
barous creature Quintus Varius was executed ^vith 
the most painful torture ; if this was for stabbing 
Drusus and poisoning Metellus, it would have been 
better for their Hves to be preserved than for Varius 
to be punished for his crime. Dionysius was despot 
of a most wealthy and prosperous city for thirty-eight 

82 years ; and before him, for how many years was 
Pisistratus tyrant of Athens, the very flower of Greece ! 
* Ah but Phalaris (you say) met wiih punishment, and 
80 did Apollodorus.' Yes, but not till after they had 
tortured and killed many victims. Many brigands 
too are frequently punished, but still we cannot say 
that the captives cruelly murdered do not outnumber 



acerbe quam praedones necatos. Anaxarchum 
Democriteum a Cyprio tyranno excarnificatum 
accepimus, Zenonem Eleatem^ in tormentis necatum ; 
quid dicam de Socrate, cuius morti inlacrimare^ soleo 
Platonem legens ? Videsne igitur deorum iudicio, 
si vident res humanas, discrimen esse sublatum ? 

83 XXXIV. Diogenes quidem Cynicus dicere solebat 
Harpalum, qui temporibus illis praedo felix habe- 
batur, contra deos testimonium dicere quod in illa 
fortuna tam diu viveret. Dionysius, de quo ante 
dixi, cum fanum Proserpinae Locris expilavisset 
navigabat Syracusas, isque cum secundissumo vento 
cursum teneret, ridens ' Videtisne' inquit, * amici, 
quam bona a dis inmortahbus navigatio sacrilegis 
detur ? ' Idque^ homo acutus cum bene planeque 
percepisset, in eadem sententia perseverabat ; qui 
cum ad Peloponnesum classem appulisset et in fanum 
venisset lovis Olympii, aureum ei detraxit amiculum 
grandi pondere, quo lovem ornarat e manubiis 
Karthaginiensium tyrannus Gelo, atque in eo etiam 
cavillatus est aestate grave esse aureum amiculum, 
hieme frigidum, eique laneum pallium iniecit, cum 
id esse* ad omne anni tempus* diceret. Idemque 
Aesculapii Epidauri barbam auream demi iussit, 
neque enim convenire barbatum esse fihum cum in 

84 omnibus fanis pater inberbis esset. Etiam mensas 
argenteas de omnibus delubris iussit auferri, in 
quibus cum more veteris Graeciae inscriptum esset 

* Eleatem Marsus : Elete A, Elee B^ Eleae dett. 

• inlacrimare det. : -ri A^ B. ^ idque Lambinus : atque. 

* esse aptum dett. ^ tenipus aptum dett. 

*• 9C. the PJiaedo, * Apollo. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xxxiii.— xxxiv. 

the brigands executed. It is related that Anaxarchus 
the disciple of Democritus was cruelly butchered by 
the tyrant of Cyprus, and Zeno of Elea tortured to 
death. Why need I mention Socrates, whose death 
when I read Plato ^ never fails to move me to tears ? 
Do you see then that the verdict of the gods, if they 
do regard men's fortunes, has destroyed all distinc- 

83 tion between them ? XXXIV. Indeed Diogenes the 
Cynic used to say that Harpalus, a brigand of the day 
who passed as fortunate, was a standing witness 
against the gods, because he Hved and prospered as 
he did for so long. Dionysius, whom I mentioned 
before, having plundered the temple of Proserpine at 
Locri, was saihng back to Syracuse, and as he ran 
before a very favourable wind, remarked with a 
smile, * See you, my friends, what a good crossing the 
immortal gods bestow on men guilty of sacrilege ? * 
Ple was a clever fellow, and grasped the truth so 
well and clearly that he remained in the same behef 
continuously ; for touching with his fleet on the 
coast of the Peloponnese and arriving at the temple 
of Olympian Zeus, he stripped him of his gold mantle, 
an adornment consisting of a great weight of metal, 
bestowed upon the god by the tyrant Gelo out of the 
spoils of the Carthaginians, and actually made a jest 
about it, saying that a golden mantle was oppressive 
in summer and cold in winter, and he threw on the 
god a woollen cloak, saying it was for every season of 
the year. He also gave orders for the removal of the 
golden beard of Aesculapius at Epidaurus, saying it 
was not fitting for the son to wear a beard when his 

84 father^ appeared in all his temples beardless. He even 
ordered the silver tables to be carried off from all the 
shrines, saying that as they bore the inscription * the 



* bonorum deorum,' uti se eorum bonitate velle 
dieebat. Idem Vietoriolas aureas et pateras coronas- 
que quae simulacrorum porrectis manibus sustine- 
bantur sine dubitatione toUebat, eaque se accipere 
non auferre dicebat, esse enim stultitiam a quibus 
bona precaremur ab iis porrigentibus et dantibus 
nolle sumere. Eundemque ferunt haec quae dixi sub- 
lata de fanis in forum protulisse et per praeconem 
vendidisse, exactaque pecunia edixisse ut quod quis- 
que a sacris^ haberet id ante diem certam in suum 
quidque fanum referret ; ita ad impietatem in deos 
in homines adiunxit iniuriam. XXXV. Hunc igitur 
nec Olympius luppiter fuhnine percussit nec Aescu- 
lapius misero diuturnoque morbo tabescentem inter- 
emit, atque in suo lectulo mortuus in j- tjTannidis" 
rogum inlatus est, eamque potestatem quara 
ipse per scelus erat nanctus quasi iustam et legiti- 
85 mam hereditatis loco fiHo tradidit. Invita in hoc 
loco versatur oratio, videtur enim auctoritatem ad- 
ferre peccandi : recte \ideretur, nisi et virtutis et 
vitiorum sine ulla divina ratione grave ipsius con- 
scientiae pondus esset. Qua sublata iacent omnia ; 
ut enim nec domus nec res pubhca ratione quadara 
et disciphna dissignata videatur si in ea nec recte 
factis praemia extent ulla nec supphcia peccatis, 
sic mundi divina [in homines]^ moderatio profecto 

^ a sacris : sacri B. 
' tyranni dis B: typanidis A. * Bouhier, 

" ?.«., kindness, bounty, bonte. 
^ The text is probably corrupt. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xxxiv.— xxxv. 

property of the good gods,' he dcsircd to profit by 
their goodness.'* Also he used to have no scruples 
in removing the httle gold images of Mctory and the 
gold cups and cro^vns carried in the outstretched 
hands of statues, and he used to say that he did not 
take them but accepted them, for it was folly to pray 
to certain beings for benefits and then when they 
proffered them as a gift to refuse to receive them. 
It is also related that he produced in the market-place 
the spoils of the temples which I have mentioned and 
sold them by auction, and after he had got the money 
issued a proclamation that anybody who possessed 
any article taken from a holy place must restore that 
article before a fixed date to the shrine to which it be- 
longed ; thus to impiety towards the gods he added 
injustice towards men. XXXV. Well, Dionysius was 
not struck dead with a thunderbolt by Olympian 
Jupiter, nor did Aesculapius cause him to waste 
away and perish of some painful and Hngering disease. 
He died in his bed and was laid upon a royal ^ pyre, 
and the power which he had himself secured by crime 
he handed on as an inheritance to his son as a just and 
85 lawful sovereignty. It is with reluctance that I en- 
large upon this topic, since you may think that my 
discourse lends authority to sin ; and you would be 
justified in so thinking, were not an innocent or guilty 
conscience so powerful a force in itself, without the 
assumption of any divine design. Destroy this, and 
everything collapses ; for just as a household or a 
state appears to lack all rational system and order if 
in it there are no rewards for right conduct and no 
punishments for transgression, so there is no such 
thing at all as the divine governance of the world if 



nulla est si in ea discrimen nullum est bonorum et 

86 " * At enim minora di neglegunt, neque agellos sin- 
gulorum nec viticulas persequuntur, nec si uredo aut 
grando quippiam nocuit, id lovi animadvertendum 
fuit ; ne in regnis quidem reges omnia minima 
curant ' : sic enim dicitis. Quasi ego paulo ante de 
fundo Formiano P. Rutilii sim questus, non de 
amissa salute. XXXVI. Atque hoc quidem omnes 
mortales sic habent, externas commoditates, vineta 
segetes oUveta, ubertatem frugum et fructuum, om- 
nem denique commoditatem prosperitatemque vitae 
a dis se habere ; virtutem autem nemo umquam 

87 acceptam deo rettulit. Nimirum recte ; propter 
virtutem enim iure laudamur et in virtute recte 
gloriamur, quod non contingeret, si id donum a deo 
non a nobis haberemus. At vero aut honoribus aucti 
aut re familiari aut si aliud quippiam nacti sumus 
fortuiti boni aut depuhnius mah, tum dis gratias agi- 
mus, tum nihil nostrae laudi adsumptum arbitramur. 
Num quis quod bonus vir esset gratias dis egit um- 
quam ? at quod dives, quod honoratus, quod incolu- 
mis. lovemque optumum et maxumum ob eas res 
appellant, non quod nos iustos temperatos sapientes 
efficiat, sed quod salvos incolumis opulentos copiosos. 

88 Neque Herculi quisquam decumam vovit umquam si 
sapiens factus esset — quamquam Pythagoras cum in 

• §80. 

"* A tenth part of spoils of war and of treasure-trove was 
devoted to Hercules as god of treasures. 


DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xxxv.— xxxvi. 

that governance makes no distinction between the 
good and the wicked. 
8G " ' But,' it may be objected, ' the gods disregard Man'siife 
smaller matters, and do not pay attention to the a?^not "^^^ 
petty farms and paltry \-ines of individuals, and smaii 
any trifling damage done by bhght or hail cannot Exwrai 
have been a matter for the notice of Jupiter ; even s^^od^ umy 
kmgs do not attend to all tne petty attairs m their these Gcd 
kingdoms ' : this is how you argue. As if forsooth it wh^er^pas' 
was Pubhus Rutihus's estate at Formiae about which viituea 
I compkiined a httle time ago,° and not his loss of wTa'for"' 
all security ! XXXVI. But this is the way with all himseit 
mortals : their external goods, their \-ineyards, corn- 
fields and ohve-yards, with their abundant harvests 
and fruits, and in short all the comfort and prosperity 
of their Uves, they think of as coming to them from 
the gods ; but virtue no one ever imputed to a god's 

87 bounty. And doubtless with good reason ; for our 
virtue is a just ground for others' praise and a right 
reason for our own pride, and this would not be so if 
the gift of virtue came to us from a god and not from 
ourselves. On the other hand when we achieve some 
honour or some accession to our estate, or obtain any 
other of the goods or avoid any of the evils of fortune, 
it is then that we render thanks to the gods, and do 
not think that our own credit has been enhanced. 
Did anyone ever render thanks to the gods because 
he was a good man ? No, but because he was rich, 
honoured, secure. The reason why men give to 
Jupiter the titles of Best and Greatest is not that 
they think that he makes us just, temperate or wisc, 

88 but safe, secure, wealthy and opulent. Nor did any- 
one ever vow to pay a tithe to Hercules ^ if he becamc 
a wise man ! It is true there is a story that Pytli- 



geometria quiddam novi invenisset Musis bovem im« 
molasse dicitur ; sed id quidem non credo. quoniam 
ille ne ApoUini quidem Delio hostiam immolare 
voluit ne aram sanguine aspergeret. Ad rem autem 
ut redeam, iudicium hoc omnium mortalium est, for- 
tunam a deo petendam, a se ipso sumendam esse 
sapientiam. Quamvis Ucet Menti delubra et Virtuti 
et Fidei^ consecremus, tamen haec in nobis ipsis 
sita \ddemus ; spei salutis opis victoriae facultas a 
dis expetenda est. Inproborum igitur prosperitates 
secundaeque res redarguunt, ut Diogenes dicebat, 
89 vim omnem deorum ac potestatem. XXXVII. ' At 
non numquam bonos exitus habent boni.' Eos 
quidem arripimus attribuimusque sine uUa ratione 
dis inmortalibus. At Diagoras cum Samothracam 
venisset, aOeos ille qui dicitur, atque ei quidam 
amicus ' Tu, qui deos putas humana neglegere, 
nonne animadvertis ex tot tabulis pictis quam multi 
votis vim tempestatis effugerint in portumque salvi 
pervenerint ? ' * Ita fit ' inquit, * illi enim nusquam 
picti sunt qui naufragia fecerunt in marique perie- 
runt.' Idemque, cum ei naviganti vectores adversa 
tempestate timidi et perterriti dicerent non iniuria 
sibi illud accidere qui illum in eandem navem recepis- 
sent, ostendit eis in eodem cursu muUas aUas labo- 
rantis quaesivitque num etiam in iis navibus Dia- 
goram vehi crederent. Sic enim res se habet ut ad 

1 Fidei secl. <et Spei> {del. in/ra spei) Pearce. 

" " Hope " shonld probably be transferred to the preceding 
Ust, after " Failh," c/. § 61. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xxxvi.— xxxvii. 

agoras used to sacrifice an ox to the Muses when he 
had made a new discovery in gcometry ! but I don't 
beUeve it, since Pythagoras refused even to sacrifice 
a victim to Apollo of Delos, for fear of sprinkHng the 
altar with blood. However, to return to my point, it 
is the considered belief of all mankind that they must 
pray to god for fortune but obtain wisdom for them- 
selves. Let us dedicate temples as we will to Intel- 
lect, Virtue and Faith, yet we perceive that these 
things are within ourselves ; hope,'* safety, wealth, 
victory are blessings which we must seek from the 
gods. Accordingly the prosperity and good fortune 
of the wicked, as Diogenes used to say, disprove the 
9 might and power of the gods entirely. XXXVII. is^notf 
* But sometimes good men come to good ends.' Yes, re^^rded 
and we seize upon these cases and impute them A\1th and vice is 
no reason to the immortal gods. Diagoras, named by^iJJn'^ 
the Atheist, once came to Samothrace, and a certain ifataU. 
friend said to him, * You who think that the gods dis- 
regard men's affairs, do you not remark all the votive 
pictures that prove how many persons have escaped 
the violence of the storm, and come safe to port, 
by dint of vows to the gods ? ' * That is so,' replied 
Diagoras ; ' it is because there are nowhere any 
pictures of those who have been shipwi-ecked and 
drowned at sea.' On another voyage he encountered 
a storm which threw the crew of the vessel into a 
panic, and in their terror they told him that they had 
brought it on themselves by having taken him on 
board their ship. He pointed out to them a number 
of other vessels making heavy weather on the same 
course, and inquired whether they supposed that 
those ships also had a Diagoras on board. The fact 
really is that your character and past life make no 



prosperam adversamve fortunam qualis sis aut quem 
ad modum ^ixeris nihil intersit. 

00 " ' Non animadvertunt ' inquit ' omnia di, ne reges 
quidem.' Quid est simile ? Reges enim si scientes 
praetermittunt.magna culpa est ; XXXVIII. at deone 
excusatio quidem est inscientiae. Quem vos praeclare 
defenditis, cum dicitis eam vim deorum esse ut etiamsi 
quis morte poenas sceleris effugerit expetantur eae 
poenae a liberis a nepotibus a posteris. O miram 
aequitatem deorum : ferretne civitas ulla latorem 
istius modi legis, ut condemnaretur filius aut nepos 
si pater aut avus deliquisset ? 

quinam Tantalidarum internecioni modus 
paretur, aut quaenam umquam ob mortem Myrtili 
poenis luendis dabitur satias supplici ? 

01 Utrum poetae Stoicos depravarint an Stoici poetis 
dederint auctoritatem non facile dixerim ; portenta 
enim ab utrisque et flagitia dicuntur. Neque enim 
quem Hipponactis iambus laeserat aut qui erat Archi- 
lochi versu volneratus, a deo inmissum dolorem, non 
conceptum a se ipso continebat, nec cum Aegisthi 
hbidinem aut cum Paridis videmus a deo causam 
requirimus, cum culpae paene vocem audiamus, nec 
ego multorum aegrorum salutem non ab Hippocrate 
potius quam ab Aesculapio datam iudico, nec Lace- 
daemoniorum disciplinam dicam umquam ab ApoUine 
potius Spartae quam a Lycurgo datam. Critolaus 
inquam evertit Corinthum, Karthaginem Hasdrubal : 

" IW Attius, probably from Thyestes. 

* \ iz. of the death of Agamemnon, and the fall of Troy. 

' Ccneral of the Achaean League, defeated by the Romans 
147 B.c. ; next year Corinth was takcn and destroyed. 

DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xxxvii.— xxxviii. 

differeiice whatever as regards vour fortune good or 

90 " * The gods do not take notice of everything, any 
more than do human rulers,' says our friend. Where 
is the parallel ? If human rulers knowinoly overlook 
a fault they are greatly to blame ; XXX\'III. but as 
for god, he cannot even offer the excuse of ignorance. 
And how remarkably you champion his cause, when 
you declare that the divine power is such that even if 
a person has escaped punishment by dyine', the punish- 
ment is visited on his children and grandchildren and 
their descendants ! What a remarkable instance of 
the divine justice ! Would any state tolerate a law- 
giver who should enact that a son or grandson was 
to be sentenced for the transgression of a father or 
grandfather ? 

Where shall the Tantalids' vendetta end ? 
What penalty for Myrtilus's murder 
Shall ever glut the appetite of vengeance ? * 

91 Whether the Stoic philosophers were led astray by 
the poets, or the poets rehed on the authority of the 
Stoics, I should find it hard to say ; for both tell some 
monstrous and outrageous tales. For the victim 
lashed by the lampoons of Hipponax or the verses of 
Archilochus nursed a wound not inflicted by a god 
but received from himself ; and we do not look for 
any heaven-sent cause ^ when we view the Hcentious- 
ness of Aegisthus or of Paris, since their guilt almost 
cries aloud in our ears ; and the bestowal of health 
upon many sick persons I ascribe to Hippocrates 
rather than to Aesculapius ; and I will never allow 
that Sparta received the Lacedaemonian rule of Hfe 
from Apollo rather than from Lycurgus. It was 
Critolaus,*' I aver, who overthrew Corinth, and 



hi duo illos oculos orae maritumae efibderunt, non 
iratus aliqui quem omnino irasci posse negatis, deus. 

92 At subvenire certe potuit et conservare urbis tantas 
atque talis ; XXXIX. vos enim ipsi dicere soletis nihil 
esse quod deus efficere non possit, et quidem sine 
labore ullo ; ut enim hominum membra nulla con- 
tentione mente ipsa ac voluntate moveantur, sic 
numine deorum omnia fingi moveri mutarique posse. 
Neque id dicitis superstitiose atque aniUter sed physica 
constantique ratione ; materiam enim rerum, ex qua 
et in qua onmia sint, totam esse flexibilem et com- 
mutabilem, ut nihil sit quod non ex ea quam^is 
subito fingi convertique possit ; eius autem universae 
fictricem et moderatricem di\inam esse providentiam ; 
hanc igitur, quocumque se moveat, efficere posse 
quicquid veUt. Itaque aut nescit quid possit, aut 
neglegit res himaanas, aut quid sit optimum non 

93 potest iudicare. * Non curat singulos homines.' 
Non mirum : ne civitates quidem. Non eas^ } Ne 
nationes quidem et gentes. Quodsi has etiam con- 
temnet, quid mirum est omne ab ea genus humanum 
esse contemptum ? Sed quo modo iidem dicitis non 
omnia deos persequi, iidem voltis a dis inmortaUbus 
hominibus dispertiri ac dividi somnia ? idcirco haec 
tecum quia vestra est de somniorum veritate sen- 
tentia. Atque iidem etiam vota suscipi dicitis 

* non <modo/ eas Miiller, 

DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xxxviii.— xxxix. 

Hasdrubal Carthage : those two glories of the sea- 
coast were extinguished by these mortals, not by some 
angry god — who according to your school is entirely 

92 incapable of anger. But at all events a god could have 
come to the aid of those great and splendid cities and 
havepreservedthem — XXXIX. foryouyourselvesare God, if 
fond of saying that there is notliing that a god cannot o"*ifjfg^^'* 
accompUsh, and that ^^dthout any toil ; as man's mightstin 
Hmbs are effortlessly moved merely by his mind and thrgood 
Mill, so, as you say, the sods' power can mould and if°ot. 

j ij. n^-i.- XT J 4-1- individuals, 

move and alter all thmgs. JNor do you say this as then 
some superstitious fable or old wives' tale, but you jiations, or 
give a scientific and systematic account of it : you at large : 
allege that matter, which constitutes and contains to be^[evr^ 
all things, is in its entirety flexible and subject toindivina- 
change, so that there is nothing that cannot bcyjurfjie 
moulded and transmuted out of it however suddenly, godshave 
but the moulder and manipulator of this univer- spare. 
sal substance is divine providence, and therefore 
providence, w^hithersoever it moves, is able to perform 
whatever it will. Accordingly either providence does 
not know its own powers, or it does not regard 
human affairs, or it lacks power of judgement to 

93 discern what is the best. * It does not care for in- 
dividuals.' This is no wonder ; no more does it care 
for cities. Not for these ? Not for tribes or nations 
either. And if it shall appear that it despises even 
nations, what wonder is it that it has scorned the 
entire human race ? But how can you both maintain 
that the gods do not pay attention to everything and 
also believe that dreams are distributed and doled out 
to men by the immortal gods ? I argue this with you 
because the beHef in the truth of dreams is a tenet 
of your school. And do you also say that it is proper 




oportere ? Nempe singuli vovent : audit igitur inens 
divina etiam de singulis ; videtis ergo non esse eam 
tam occupatam quam putabatis ? Fac esse disten- 
tam, caelum versantem terram tuentem maria 
moderantem : cur tam multos deos nihil agere et 
cessare patitur ? cur non rebus humanis aliquos 
otiosos deos praeficit qui a te, Balbe, innumerabiles 
explicati sunt ? 

" Haec fere dicere habui de natura deorum, non 
ut eam tollerem sed ut intellegeretis quam esset 
obscura et quam difficilis expHcatus haberet." 

94 XL. Quae cum dixisset, Cotta finem. Lucihus 
autem " Vehementius " inquit, " Cotta, tu quidem 
invectus es in eam Stoicorum rationem quae de 
providentia deorum ab iUis sanctissume et provi- 
dentissume constituta est. Sed quoniam adves- 
perascit, dabis nobis diem ahquem ut contra ista 
dicamus. Est enim mihi tecum pro aris et focis cer- 
tamen et pro deorum temphs atque delubris proque 
urbis muris, quos vos pontifices sanctos esse dicitis 
dihgentiusque urbem rehgione quam ipsis moenibus 
cingitis ; quae deseri a me, dum quidem spirare 
potero, nefas iudico." 

95 Tum Cotta : " Ego vero et opto redargui me, 
Balbe, et ea quae disputavi disserere malui quam 
iudicare, et facile me a te vinci posse certo scio." 


DE NATURA DEORUM, III. xxxix.— xl. 

for men to take vows upon themselves ? Well, })ut 
vuAS are made by individuals ; therefore the divine 
mind gives a hearing even to the concerns of in- 
dividuals ; do you see therefore that it is not so 
engrossed in business as you thought ? Grant that it 
is distracted between moving the heavens and watch- 
ing the earth and controUing the seas : why does it 
sutfer so many gods to be idle and keep hoHday ? 
why does it not appoint some of the leisured gods 
w^hose countless numbers you expounded, Balbus, to 
superintend human affairs ? 

" This more or less is what I have to say about the 
nature of the gods ; it is not my design to disprove it, 
but to bring you to understand how obscure it is and 
how difficult to explain." 

94 XL. So saying, Cotta ended. But Lucihus said : Conciusion. 
" You have indeed made a slashing attack upon the 

most reverently and wisely constructed Stoic doc- 
trine of the divine providence. But as evening is 
now approaching, you will assign us a day on which to 
make our answer to your views. For I have to fight 
against you on behalf of our altars and hearths, of the 
temples and shrines of the gods, and of the city- 
walls, which you as pontiffs declare to be sacred and 
are more careful to hedge the city round witli 
religious ceremonies than even with fortifications ; 
and my conscience forbids me to abandon their cause 
so long as I yet can breathe." 

95 " I on my side," repUed Cotta, " only desire to be 
refuted. My purpose was rather to discuss the doc- 
trines I have expounded than to pronounce judge- 
ment upon them, and I am confident that you can 
easily defeat me." 

o 381 


" Quippe " inquit Velleius " qui etiam somnia 
putet ad nos mitti ab love, quae ipsa tamen tam 
levia non sunt quam est Stoicorum de natura deorum 

Haec cum essent dicta, ita discessimus ut Velleio 
Cottae disputatio verior, mihi Balbi ad veritatis 
similitudinem videretur esse propensior. 



" Oh, no doubt," interposed Velleius ; " why, he 
thinks that even our dreams are sent to us by Jupiter 
— though dreams themselves are not so unsubstantial 
as a Stoic disquisition on the nature of the gods." 

Here the conversation ended, and \ve parted, 
Velleius thinking Cotta's discourse to be the truer, 
while I felt that that of Balbus approximated more 
nearly to a semblance of the truth. 



Ex LiBRO DE Natura Deorum tertio 

1. Lactarit. Inst. div. ii. 3. 2 Intellegebat Cicero 
falsa esse quae homines adorarent. Nam cum multa 

dixisset quae ad eversionem religionum valerent, ait tamen 
non esse illa vulgo disputanda, ne susceptas publice 
religiones disputatio talis exstinguat. 

2. Ih. ii. 8. 10 Cicero de natura deorum disputans sic 
ait : Primum igitur non est probabile eam materiam 
rerum unde orta sunt omnia esse divina providentia 
effectam, sed habere et habuisse vim et naturam 
suam. Ut igitur faber cum quid aedificaturus est 
non ipse facit materiam sed ea utitur quae sit parata, 
fictorque item cera, sic isti providentiae di\1nae 
materiam praesto esse oportuit non quam ipsa^ faceret 
sed quam haberet paratam. Quodsi non est a deo 
materia facta, ne terra quidem et aqua et aer et 
ignis a deo factus est. 

3. Maii veit. interpr. Virg. p. 45 ed. Med. apud 
Ciceronem de natura deorum LT, uhi de Cleomene 
Lacedaemonio . . . 

4. Diomedes i. p. 313. 10 Keil. Cicero de deorum 
natura tertio : homines omnibus bestiis antecedunt. 

^ ipsa edd. : ipse mss. 

* This and the three following fragments Plasberg inserts 
in Book III. § 65. 


Fragments of Book III 

1.° Lactantius, Divine Institutions ii. 32. Cicero rvas 
aware that the objects of mois worship werefalse. For 
after saying a numher of things tending to suhvert 
religion, he adds nevertheless that these matters ought 
not to be discussed in pubhc, lest such discussion 
destroy the estabhshed rehgion of the nation. 

2. Ih. ii. 8. 10. Cicero in discussing the nature of the 
gods says thus : First therefore it is not probable that 
the material substance from which all things are 
derived was created by divine providence, but that 
it has and has had a force and nature of its own. As 
therefore the carpenter when about to build a house 
does not himself make timber but employs that which 
has been prepared, and the same with the modeller 
and his wax, so your divine providence ought to have 
been supphed with matter not made by itself but 
given to it ready-made. But if matter was not made 
by god, earth, water, air and fire also were not made 
by god. 

3. Maius' Ancient Interpreters of Virgil, p. 45, ed. 
Milan. In Cicero's de Natura Deorum hk. III., where 
5j3eaA-/"«g o/Cleomenes of Sparta . . . 

4. Diomedes i. p. 313. 10 Keil. Cicero de Natura 
Dcorum hk. III Men surpass all the lower animals. 




5. Serv. ad Verg. Aen. iii. 284 Tullius in libro de 
naiura deorum tria milia annorum dixit magnum 
annum tenere. 

6. Serv. ad Verg. Aen. iii. 600 spirabile . . . est 
sermo Cicercnis, quanquam ille spiritabile dixerit in 
libris de deorum natura. 

7. Serv. ad Verg. Aen. vi. 894 Per portam corneam 
oculi significantur, qui et cornei sunt et duriores ceteris 
membris, nam frigus non sentiunt sicut etiam Cicero 
dixit in libris de natura deorum. 

" See ii. 51 f., where, however, the length of the Great 
Year is stated to be uncertain. In Hortensius, fr. 26, Cicero 
gave it as 12954 years. 

^ One Ms. of Servius has spiritale, which is probably 


DE NATURA DEORUM, fraqments 

Fragments of uncertain Origin 

5. Servius on Virgil Aen. iii. 284. Tully in his book 
on the nature of the gods said that the Great Year con- 
tains three thousand years.** 

6. Id. on Aen. iii. 600. * Spirabile ' . . . is in the 
style of Cicero, although he said ' spiritabile ' ^ in his 
books on the nature of the gods. 

7. Id. on Aen. vi. 894. By * the gate of horn ' the 
eyes are meant, which are boih horny and harder than 
the other parts of the body, for they do not feel cold, as 
Cicero also said in his books on the nature of the gods.'^ 

correct. In N.B, ii. 18 we find spiritalem, with a less well 
attested variant spiritahilem, presumably a mere error. The 
usual form is spiritualis. 

'^ There is nothing hke this about the eyes in Cicero, 
tliough in ii. 144 he says " the ears have hard and so to speak 
horny entrances." 



Absyrtus (brother of Medea, killed 
by her), iii. 48 

Academica, Cicero's, L 11 

Academy, non-dogmatic, 1. 1-14; 
doctrine of epodic, i. 11 ; of prob- 
ability, i. 12 ; rhetoric of, ii. 

Accius (Roman tragic author, 170- 
?100 B.c), quoted, li. 89 ; iii. 41, 
68, 90 

accoramodare {(rvvoi.Keiovv), i. 41, 
104 ; ii. 45, 139 

Achcron (river in Hades), iii. 43 

Achilles, worship of, iii. 45 

adaptation of animals to environ- 
ment, ii. 121 ff., for propagation 
of species, ii. 128 ff., for use of 
man, ii. 158 ff. ; of man's struc- 
ture, ii. 134 ff. ; of nature for 
use of man, ii. 130 ff., 154 ff. 

Adonis, iii. 59 

Aegialeus ( = Absyrtu8), liL 48 

Aegisthus, iii. 91 

aerfuahilis tributio. aequilibriias 
(io-ovo/xia), i. 50, 109 

Ae.sculapii, three, iii. 57 

Aesculapius, human benefactor 
deified, ii. 62 ; iii. 39, 45, 91 ; Epi- 
daurian, his gold beavd, iii. &3 

aether, a foreign word, ii. 91, 101 ; 
divine, i. 36; =Jove, ii. 65; 
source of soul and life, ii. 18, 39 
ff. ; fiery heat, i. 33, 37 ; ii. 41, 
53; holds world togfther, ii. 101, 
115 ; inhabited, ii. 43 

Aether, father of Caelus, iiL 44; 
father of Jove, iii. 53 t 

Africanus. See Scipio 

air, =Juno, ii. 66; propertios of, i. 
40; iL17, 26 f., 42, 83, 101, 117; 
iii. 30 


Alabanda (city in Caria, nampd 

from hero Alabandus), iii. 39, 60 
Albucius (praetor in Sardinia 105 

B.C., condemned de repefundif', 

retired to Athens and Epicurean 

philosophy), L 93 
Alcaeus (Greek lyric poet of 

Mitylene, fl. 600 B.C.), quoted in 

Latin, i. 79 
Alcamenes (Athenian sculptor, Jl. 

441:— 400 B.C., pupil of Pheidia.'-), 

L 83 
Alcmaeo (philosopher of Crotona 

in Italy, j-oucger contempoi-ary 

of Pj'thagoras, end of 6ih cent. 

B.c), L 27 
Alco, one of the Dioscuri, iii. 53 
Alexander the Great, ii. 09 
allegory, Stoic use of, i. 36 f., 41 ; 

ii. 62 fl". ; iii. 62 ff. 
Almo (a small tributary of the 

Tiber), iii. 52 
alphabet, the Latin, ii. 93 
Amor, iii. 44 
Amphiaraus, a legendary augur, iL 

7 ; iii. 49 
Anactes (' Kings '), iii. 53 
Anaxagoras (lonian philosopher 

500-428 B.C., teacher of Pericles 

and Euripides), i. 26 
Anaxarchus (a philosopher of 

Abdera, accompanied Alexander 

into Asia; incurred the hatred 

of Nicocreon, king of Salamis in 

Cypras, by his free speakinp, 

and pounded to death in a 

mortar), iii. 83 
Anaximander (of Miletus, 610-547 

B c), L 25 
Anaxinienes (of Miletus, /l. end of 

6th cent. B.C.), i. 26 


i,*oinial life, wonders of, ii. 121 fT. 
AnniLS magnu^f, ii. 51 
Anteros, iii. 60 
^ithropomorphism, 1. 46 ff., 71 ff., 

Antiope, iii. 54 
Antisthenes (pupil of Socrates, 

founder of Cynic school), i. 32 
Aoede, iii. 54 
Apis, i. 82 
Apollo (meaning of name), ii. 68 ; 

iii. 55, 57, 8S, Pl 
ApoUodorus (minor Stoic philo- 

sopher), i. 93 
Apollodorus (tyrant of Cassan- 

dria, formerly Potidaea, c. 280 

B.c, overthrown by Antio'ouus 

Gonatas), iii. 82 
Aquillius (C. Gallus, praetor with 

Cicero 6t3 b.c), iii. 74 
Aratus, ii. 104 ff. (see note), 159 
Arcesilas (c. 315-240 b.c, founder 

of second Academy), i. 11, 70 
Arche, iii. 54 
Archilochus (of Paros, JL 700 

B.C. invented iambic metre ; 

lampooned Lycambes for break- 

ing his promise to give h"m a 

daughter in marriage ; she and 

her sisters hanged themselves for 

shame), iii. 91 
Archiraedes (raathematician and 

astronomer of Syracuse, 2s7-212 

B.c. : his orrery brought to Rome 

by MarcellusX ii. 88 
Arctoe, ii. 105 ii. 109 
Arcturus, ii. 110 
Arctus, ii. 109 ff 
Ardea (ancient town in Latium), 

iii. 47 
Areopagus, ii. 74 
Argo, ii. 89, 114 
Argus, iil 56 
Aristaeus, iii. 45 
Aristippus (of Cyrene, pupil of 

Socrates, founder of Cyrenaic 

school of hedonism), iii. 77 
Aristo (of Chios, Stoic, reacted 

towards Cynicism), i. 37; iii, 

Aristotle (385-322 b.c), quoted, ii. 

42, 4J, 61, 95, 125; Epicurean 

criticism of, i. 20, 33, 93 ; dia- 

logue On Philosophy (lost), i, 33, 

Ar^inoe, iii. 57 
Arsippus, iii. 57 

Asia (under K. Dionysus), iii. 58 
asomata, i. 30 
Astarte (Venus), iii. 69 
Asteria (mother of Hercules), iii. 

42; (of Ilecate), iii. 46 
astron omy , heliocentric, i. 24 ; ii. 
"53, TTw*, geocentric, ii. 91, 98 ; 

the planets, ii. 51 ff., 103, 119; 

exhalation, ii. 40, 83, 118; iii. 87 
Astypalaea(one of Cyclades islands 

near Cos), iii. 46 
atheism, i. (52 f., 118; iii. 89 
^f^eos(Diogenes), i. 62 
Atreus, iii. 53, 68, 76 
Attic wit, i. 93 
Attus Navius, ii. 9 ; iii. 14 
augury, ii. 7tf., 65, 160; iii. 52 

Behis, iii. 42 
Boeotia, iii. 49 
Boot€s, ii. 109 f. 
botany, ii. 29, 33, 120, 127 
Britain, barbarism of, ii, 88; tides 
in, iii. 24 

Cabirus, iii, 58 
Cadmus, iii. 48 
Caelius Antipater (Roman jurist 

JL end of 2ad centnry b.c, 

wrote history of Punic wars), 

ii. 8 
Caelus (Uranus), ii, 63 ; iii. 44, 53 ff. 
Calatinus, Atilius (consul 258 and 

•254 B.c, deteated Carthaginiuns 

in Ist Punic war), ii. 61, 165 
Calchas, ii. 7 

Camirus (city in Rhodes), iii. 64 
Cancer, ii. 110 
Canicula (Sirius), iii. 26 
Cannae (death ofPauUus atbattle 

of, 216 B.c), iii. 80 
Carbo (C. Papirius, partisan of 

Gracchi, but defeuded murdereT 

of Gaius), i. 64 
Carneales (of Cyrene, 214-129 b.c, 

head of Middle Academy; 

Athenian amba.s.sador to Rome 

155 B.c), i. 4, 11 ; ii, 162 ; iii. 

29, 44 
Carthage, iii, 42, 83, 91 



Ca^tor and Pollux, ii. 6; iii. 11 ff., 

cat deified in Egypt, i. 82, 101 ; 

iii. 47 
Cato (censor 184 B.c), L 71 ; ii. 

165; iii. 11 
Critnlus the elder (consul 102 b.c, 

died in Marian proscription 67 

B.c), i. 79 ; iii. 80 
Catulus the younger (consul 78 

B.c), i. 79 
Centaurs, iii. 51 
ceRtripetal universe, ii. 115 ff. 
Cerberus, iii. 43 
Cercops, i. 107 
Ceres ( = earth), i. 40; il. 67; iii. 

52, 62 ; ( = corn), ii. 60 ; iii. 41, 52 
Charon, iii. 43 
Chimaera, i. 108 ; ii. 5 
ChroDOB (=Kronos), ii. 64 
Chrysippus (280-206 B.c, third 

head of Stoic school), i. 39 ; ii. 16, 

37, 63, 160; iii. 18, 25, 63; nick- 

named Chrysippa, i. 93 
Cicero, biographical details, i. 14, 

59, 79, 93 ; iii. 46, 59, 83 ; philo- 

sophical studies, i. 5-12 
Cinna (consul 87 b.c, leader in 

ilarian massacre), iii. 80 f. 
Circe, iii. 48, 54 
Cleanthes (succeeded Zeno as head 

of Stoic school c. 260 b.c), i. 

37 ; ii. 13, 24, 40, 63 ; iii. 16, 63 
Cocytus, iii. 43 
Codrus, iii. 49 
Concord (temple on Capitol built 

367 B.C on passing of Licinian 

laws), ii. 61 ; iii. 47, 61 
conscience a witness to God, iii. 

46, 85 
Corinth, fall of, 146 B.c, iiL 91 

(see note) 
Coronis, iii. 50 (see crit. n.) 
Coruncanius i. 115 ; ii. 165 ; iii. 5 
Cotta (see Introd. p. xiv), i. 15 ; ii. 

168 ; iiL 5, 95 

fjpnfinn nf U-nrlfi inp.f^pppH'a>.lft, i. 

i9 ff. 
Ciitolaus, iii. 91 n. 
crocodile, i. 82, 101 ; iL 124, 129 ; 

iiL 47 
Cronos, ii. 64 
Crotona (see Locri), ii. 6 
Cupidines, iiL 59 ff. 


Cupido, ii. 61 ; iii. 58 

Curius, iL 165 

cycle of existence of world, 11. 118 

Decii (P. Decius Mus immolated 

himself in Latin war 340 b.c. ; 

son of same name fell at Seu- 

tinum iu Etru.scau war 205 b.c. ; 

grandson fell at Asculiim in war 

against PviThus 279 b.c), iii. 

15 ; c/. ii. 10 
Deianeira (wife of Hercales), iiL 

deification of abstractions, ii. 60 

ff., 79 
Delphi, iii. 57 
Democritus (of Abdera in Thrace, 

c. 460-361 b.c, atomist), i. 29, 

75, 93, 107, 120 ; iL 76 ; doctrine 

of design, ii. 120 ff. 
Diagoras (of Melos, ' the Atheist,' 

pupil of Democritus, fled from 

Athens when prosecuted for 

impiety 411 b.c), L 2, 63, 117; 

iiL 89 
Diana, ii. 68 f. ; iii. 58 
Digiti (Dactyli, ' Fingers,' five 

wise men of Mt. Ida in Crete 

or Plirygia, Hercules being the 

eldest), iii. 42 
Diodotus (Stoic philosopher, lived 

with Cicero from 84 to his death 

59 B.C.), i. 6 
Diogenes of Apollonia (natural 

philosopher, 5th cent. B.C.), L 

Diogenes of Babylon (fourth head 

of Stoic school, mid. 2nd cent. 

B.C.), i. 41 
Diogenes the Cynic (d. 323 B.c), 

ilL 83, 88 
Dioiivsius (the elder, tyrant of 

Syracuse, 405-368 ac), iii. 82 ff. 
Dioscuri, iii. 53 
' Dis,' from dives, ii. 66 
divination (mantike), i. 55 ; IL 4 S., 

162 f., 166; iii. 5, 11 ff., 95 
Drusus (reformer, murdered 91 

B.C.), iiL 80 f. 
Duellius, ii. 165 

■iTyeiJ.oviKoi'. See hegemonikon, 
Ei^yptian mythology, i. 43 
ei/xap/aei^. 8ee heiriiarmerU. 


elements, denizens of, i. 103 ; ii. 

elephant, ii. 151, 161 
Eieiisis, i. 119 
Empedocles (philosopher and 

statesman of Agrigentum, jl. 

400 B.c), i. 29,93 
Ennniasin {ev yovacTLv, COnstella- 

tion of a kneelina; man), ii. lOS 
Eunius (Roman epic poet 239-169 

B.C.), i. 119; ii. 4, 65, 93; iii. 10, 

41», 65 f., 75, 79 
Epicurus, his theology expounded, 

i. IS S. ; demolished, i. 57 ff. 
epiphanies, i. 36, 46, 76; ii. 6, 166 ; 

iii. 11 ff, 
epoche, i. 11 
Erebns, iii. 44 
Ereclitheus (legendary king of 

Athens, to secure whose \actorj' 

in war his daughters offered 

their lives iu sacritice), iii. 49 f. 
'Ecnrepo?. See Hesperos 
'Ea-rCa- See Hestia 
eternity, the notion of, i. 22 
PJtna, eruption of, ii. 96 
Etruscan augury, ii. 10 tL 
Eubouleus, iii. 53 
Euhemerus (Greek rationalizing 

mythologist, fl. 300 B.C.), L 119 
Eunienides, iii. 46 
Euripides, quoted, iL 65 
Europa, i. 78 ; ii. 165 ; iil 24 
Eviolus (?), iii. 53 

Fabius, Q. Maximus Cunctator 

(dedicated temple to Honos 233 

B.C., hero of 2nd Punic war), 

ii. 61, 165 ; iii. 80 
Fabricius, iL 165 
Faunus, ii. 6; iii. 15 
tiie, v ital properties of, L 103 ; ii. 
' 4u, 42 ; Heraclitus's primary, 

refuted, iii. 35 ff. 
fish, Avorship of, iii. 39, 47 
Flaminius, C. (consul, fell in battle 

with Hannibal at Trasimene 217 

B.c), ii. 8 
flux, basis of life, i. 39 ; ii. 84 ; iii. 

Fons (god of wells, son of Janus), 

iii. 52 
Formiae (Mola di Gaieta : ruins of 

Cicero'3 vilJa still shown), iii. 86 

friendship, ulilitarian, i. 122 
Furies, Furina, iii. 46 

Gelo (tyrant of Syracuse 491-478 
B.C), iii. S3 

Gemeter, ii. 67 

Gigas, ii. 70 

Glaiice, iii. 58 

Gracchus, Ti. Sempronius (consul 
177 and 163 b.c, father of the 
tribunes), i. 106 ; ii. 10, 11, 165 

gravitation, ii. 115 

Haedi (' Kids,' constellation), ii. 

hand. mechanism of, ii. 150 ff. 
Hannibal, iii. 80 
Harpalus (protligate treasurer of 

Alexander, fled to Athens 324 

B.c), iii. 83 
Hasdrubal, iii. 91 
hawk, ii. 125 
heat vital, ii. 23 ff. 
hedonism refutt^d, i. 111 S. 
he'jemonikon, ii. 29 
hcimarmene, i. 55 
Helenus (.son of Priara, foretold 

fjrtunes of Aeneas). ii. 7 
Heliee ('screw'), ii. 105, 110 
Heliopoli.s (ci:y on Nile), iii. 54 
Heraclides of Pontus (pupil of 

Plato and Aristotle), i. 34 
Heraclitus ('the obycure,' philo-- 

sopher of Ephesus, late 6th ceut. 

B.C.) i. 74; iii. 35 
Hercules, ii. 02 ; iii. 39, 41 f., 50, 

70, 88 
Hermarchus (of Mitylene, suo 

ceeded Epicurus), i. 93 
Hesiod, L 41 ; iL 159; iii. 44 
Hesperides, iiL 44 
He-'peros, ii. 53 
Hestia, ii. 67 
Hiero (tyrant of Syracuse 478-467 

B.C.), i. 60 
Hippocentaur, i. 105 ; ii. 5 
Hippocrates (fl- 400 b.c), iiL 91 
Hippolytus, iii. 76 
Hipponax (of Ephesus, late 6th 

cent. B.C, invented5c«i07iorlimp- 

ing iambus, satirized scnlptors 

Bupalus and Atlienis \n1io had 

caricatured him), iii. 91 



Homer, i. 41 ; ii. 70, 165 ; ilL 11, 41 
Honor, ii. 61 ; iii. 47, 61 
hormai (impulses of will), ii. 58 
Hyades, ii. 111 
Hyperion, iii. 54 

lalysus, iii. 54 

iambus. See nii ponax 

lanus, ii. 67 

lason (tyrant of Pherae in Thessaly, 

assa:-sinated 370 b c), iii. 70 
ibis, i. 82, 101 ; ii. 120 ; iii. 47 
iclineumon, i. 101 
Idyia, iii. 48 
imagines, i. 29, 49, 73, lCGff., 120; 

ii. 76 
India, i, 88, 97 

Indus, greatest of rivers, ii. 130 
Ino (sea goddess, gave Odysseus 

veil on wbich he floated after 

sbipwreck, Od. v. 833 ff.), iii. 48 
intermundia, i. 18 
Iris, iii. 51 
Isis, iii. 47 
isjnomia, i. 50, 109 
luno, i. 82 ; ii. 66 
lupiter, derivation, ii. 64 ; Stoic, 

the supreme law, i. 40 ; tbe sky, 

ii. 4, 65, 119 ; Capitolinus, i. 

82 ; Hammon, i. 82 ; planet, ii. 

119 ; Olympian, iii. 83 ; source 

of dreams, iii. 95 ; three Jupiters, 

iii. 53 
luventus (Hebe), i. 112 

KvoBOfi = chronos, ii. 64 
kyk!os, ii. 47 
Kyriai Doxai, i. 85 

Labor, iii. 44 

Laelius (C. Sapiens, friend of 

younger Afrieanus, and chief 

speaker in De Amicitia), ii. 165 ; 

iii. 5, 43 
liatona, iii. 46, 57 f. 
Leda, iii. 53 
Lemnos, i. 119; iii. 55 
Leontium (pupil of Epicurus), i. 94 
Lencippus (atomic physicist, fore- 

runner of Democritus, date un- 

certain), i. 66 
Leucothea (epithet of Ino), iii. 39, 

Liber, ii. 00, 62; iii. 41, 63 


Libera, ii. 63 

Libya, iii. 24 

liver, ii. 11.7; iii. 14 

Locri, ii. 6 ; iii. 11, 83 

Lubentina (or Libitina, a form of 
Venus, and goddess of death 
because deaths were registered in 
her temple at Rome), ii. 61 

Lucifer, ii. 53 ; iii. 51 

Lucilius(satirist, 148-103 B.C.), i. 64 

Luclna, ii. 68 

Luna, ii. 68 ; iii. 51, 58 

Lutatius (C. Lutalius, defeated 
Carthaginian fleet off Aegates 
islands and ended Ist Punic war, 
241 B.c), ii. 165 

Lyceum (shrine at Athens, its 
grove, peripatos, the resort of 
Aiistotle), i. 72 

Lycurgus (lawgiver of Sparta), iii. 

Lysithoe, iiL 42 

viachina, dev,s ex, i. 53 

magi, i. 43 

Mala Fortuna, iii. 63 

man, image of God, i. 90; noblest 

work of God, ii. 133 ff.; world 

made for, ii. 154 ff. ; belittled, ii. 

17, 34ff., 79; bodily structure, 

ii. 134 ff., 139 ff. 
rnanfike, i. 55 
Marcellus, M. (defeated Gauls at 

Clastidium 222 b.c, be.^^iegt^d 

SjTacuse in 2nd Punic war, ftdl 

at Venusia 208 b.c), ii. 61, 165 ; 

iii. 80 
Marius, C. (democratic leader, 157- 

86 B.c), iii. 80 f. 
Mars, ii. 53, 67, 119; iii. .59, 62 
Maso (C. Papirius, defeated Corsi- 

cans 2^1 B.C.), iii. 52 

iii. 29f.,92 

Mavors,' etymology of, ii. 67 ; iii. 

Medea, iii. 48 ; Medfa of Ennius, 

iii. 65 f., 75 ; of Accius, ii. 89 ; 

iii. 67 
Melete, iii. 54 

' meuses ' from m^nsa, ii. 69 
MfTCury, iii. 56 ff. 
Metcllus (consul 250 B.c), ii. 265; 

bis murder(otherwiseunknown), 

iii. 81 


Metrodorus (Epicunis's most dis- 
tiuguished pupil, d. 277 B.C.), i. 
86, i>3, 113 

mind in matter, i. 25 f. ; ii. 18, 58, 
61 ; iii. 47, 61, 88 

Minerva, i. 81, 83, 100; ii. 67; iii. 
53, 55, 59, 63 

Miseria, iii. 44 

Mnemosyne, iii. 54 

mole, i. 79 f. 

Moneta, iii. 47 

vionogrammos deos, ii. 59 

moou, ii. 19, 50, 103, 119 

Mopsus, ii. 7 

Musae, iii. 45, 54, 88 

Musaeas (mythical poet), i. 41 

mysteries, i. 119 ; ii. 62 ; iii. 58 

mythology, personitication of 
natural forces, ii. 62 ; popular, 
rldiculed, ii. 70; iii. 11, 16 

nature, blind force of Epicurus and 
New Academy, i. 35, 53 ; ii. 43, 
76, 81 f. ; iii. 27 f. ; rational, of 
Stoics, ii. 36 ff., 57, 76; sur- 
passes art, i. 92; ii. 35, 57 f., 82 
ff. ; deification of forces of, ii. 63 

Naus'phanes (teacher of Epicurus), 
i. 73, 93 

Navius. Sea Attus 

Decessity = God, i. 39; opposed to 
reason, ii. 76 f., 88 

Neptune, i. 40 ; ii. 60, 66, 71 ; iii. 
43, 52, 62, 64, 76 

Nilus, ii. 130 ; iii. 42, 54, 56, 58 f. 

Nisus (nursed infant Bacchus), iii. 

Nodinus (unknown stream near 
Rome), iii. 52 

Nomios {nomos, law), iii. 57 

Numa (second king of Rome), iii. 
5, 43 

Nymphae, iil. 43 

Octavian war(Gn. Octavius, consul 
87 B.c, fought for Sulla against 
the Marian consul Cinna), ii. 14 

Olympias (niother of Alexander the 
Great), ii. 69 

Ophiuchus ('snake-holder'), ii. 

Ops (wife of Saturn, goddess of 
earth and wealth, had temple on 
Capitol), ii. 61 ; iii. 88 

optimism of Stoics, ii. 18, 86 f. 
Orbona (goddess of bereavement), 

iii. 63 
Orion, ii. 113 ; iii. 26 
optJ.aC (impulses of will), ii. 58 
Orpheus, i. 41, 107; iii. 45, 58 
orreries, ii. 88 

Pacuvius (Roman tragedian, b. o 
220 B.C.), iii. 48 

Palaemon, iii. 39 

Pallas, father of Minerva, iiL 59 

Pamphilus, teacher of Epicurus, i. 

Pan, iii. 56 

Panaetius (of Rhodes, 180-111 b.o., 
eclectic Stoic, friend of Scipio, 
wrote Ilepl ToO KaOrjKovTO^;, tlie 
basis of Cicero's De Officlis), ii. 

Panisci, iii. 43 

pantheism ridiculed, 1. 25, 52 t 

panther, i. 88 ; ii. 126 

Parcae (the fates), iii. 44 

Paris, iii. 91 

Parmenides (idealist philosopher 
of Elea, 5th cent. b.c, pupil 
of Xenophanes, wrote didactic 
poem On Kature, frags. extant), 
i. 28 

Pasiphae, iii. 48 

Paulus (L. Aemilius Macedonicus, 
defeated Perses, last king of 
Macedon, at Pydna, 168 b.c), ii. 
6, 165; his father defeated at 
Cannae (by Hannibal, 216 b.c), 
iii. 80 

Peducaea rogatio, iii. 74 

Pelops, iii. 53 

Penates, etymology of, ii. 68 

Penelopa, iii. 56 

Peripatetics, i. 16 

Persaeus, Stoic philosopher, i. 38 

Perseis, daughter of Oceanus, iil. 

Persephone, ii. 66 

Perses. See Paullus 

Pertinacia, iii. 44 

pessimism of Epicurus, L 23 
Academic, iii. 79 f. 

Phaedo, i. 93 ; iii. 82 (n.) 

Phaedrus(head of Epicurean school, 
d. 70 B.c ), i. 93 

Phaenon = S&tuTn, ii. 62 



Phaxthon, ii. 52 ; iii. 76 

Plialaris (tyrant of Agrigenturu 

560-540 B.c), iii. S2 
Pheneaiae (Arcadian tribe), iii. 

Philo (foander of New Academy, 

teacher of Cicero), L 6, 11, 17, 59, 

Philodemus, i. 45, 49 
pbilosophy, value of, i. 6 f. ; ii. 1, 

3, 168 ; four schools of, i, 16 
Phosphoros, ii. 53 
Plithas, iii. 65 
physicists, the early, their theology 

refuted, i. 25 ff. 
physiology, human, ii. 134 fir. 
Pierides, Pierus, iii. 54 
Pisistratus (three times tyrant of 

Athens, d. 527 B.c), iii. 82 
Piso (M. Pupius Calpurnius, consul 

61 B.c, expounder of Peripatetic 

system in De Finibus v.), i. 16 
planets, ii. 51 f. 
Plato on creation, 1. 19 ff. ; incon- 

sistency of, i. 30; 'divine,' ii. 

32 ; Timaeus, i. 19 ; Phaedo, iii. 82 
Pluto, ii. 66 
poiotes, ii. 96 
Portunus, ii. 66 
Posid n ius (eclectic Stoic at Rhodes, 

where Cicero attended his 

lectures), i. 6, 123 ; ii. SS 
Postumius, Aulus (dictator in early 

republic), iii. 13 
probability, i. 12 
Prodicus (of Ceos, b. 470 B.c, 

sophist at Athens), i. 118 
progress {wrokope), iii. 79 
prolepsis, i. 43 

pronoia, i. 18, 20 ; ii. 58, 73, 160 
Proserpine, iii. 79 
Protagoras(of Abdera, 490-415 b.c, 

sophist, banished from Athens 

for impiety), i. 2, 20, 63 
providence, proved, ii. 73-153 ; in 

structure of world, ii. 154 ff. ; re- 

futed, iiL 65 ff. ; care for indi- 

vidual men, iL 164 ff. ; refuted, 

iii. 79 ff. 
Punic war, first (264-242 b.c), ii. 

71 ; second (218-202 B.c), iL 65 
Pyrrhus (king of Epirus, at war 

with Rome inltaly, 280-276 B,c), 

iL 165 


Pythagoras (born 529 b.c at Samo,% 
taught at Crotona in Italy, 
founded religious brotherhood), 
i. 10, 74, 107 ; iiL 88 

qualitas, ii. 96 
Querella, iiL 44 

rationality of universe, ii. 16 ff, 
reason, human, ii. 157 ; not neces- 

sarily beneflcial, iii. 70 ff. 
Regillus (lake in Latium, where 

Romans defeated Latins, 498 

B.C.), ii. 6 
Regulus (hero of Ist Punic war), 

ii. 80 
' religio,* etymology of, iii. 72 
Rhesus (son of a Muse and of 

Strymon the king and river of 

Thrace), iii. 45 
Romulus, founder of augury, ii. 9 ; 

iii. 5 ; deification of, ii. 62 ; iii. 39 
Roscius (actor), i. 79 
rotation the divine motion, ii. 99 ff. 
Rutilius {lcgatus in Asia, exiled on 

false char^e of peculation, c. 98 

B.c), iii. 80, 86 

Sabazius (identified with Dionysus), 

iii, 58 
Sagra (small river in S, Italy, scene 

of victory of Locrian settleii 

over Crotona, c. 5G0 B.c), ii. 6 
Salaria (via), iii. 11 
Samothrace (island in N. Aegean, 

seat of Cabeiric mystery ritual), 

iL 6 
Saturn, etymology of name, iL 64 ; 

iii. 53, 02 ; worship of, iii. 44 ; 

the planet, ii. 52, 119 
Scaevola, P. (consul 123 B,a), L 115 ; 

iii. 5 
Scaevola, Q. (son of above, assassi- 

nated 82 b.c), iii. 80 
Scaurus (163-'J0 B.c,leader of Opti- 

mates), ii. 61 
scepticism, L 1, 63, 117 ; justified, 

L 10 ff. 
Scipio, P. Cornelius Africanus 

Major, ii. 165 ; Minor (his muider 

foretold by prodigies, 129 b,c,), 

ii. 14 ; iii. 80 
Scipio, P. Comelius Nasica (consul 

162 B.c), iL 10; liL 5 



Soipio, P. and Cn. (brotliers, fell in 

ypaiu 212 B.c), iii. 80 
seuse organs, mau's, ii. 140 S. 
Septentriones, IL 105, 109 f. 
Seraii.s, iii. 47 
Sei iphus (one of Cyclades islands), 

i. bS 
Sibyllae, ii. 10 ; iii. 5 
si,j;ht, theory of, ii. 88, 144 f. 
SilvaiiUs, ii. 89 
Simonide.s (lyric poet of Ceos, 550- 

470 B.C.), at courtof Hiero, tyrant 

of Syracuse, i. 60 
Socrates, i. 95 
'sol,' ii. 66 

Sosius (unknown), iii. 74 
Sospita (Juno 'the saviour'), 

temple of, at Lanuvium, i. 82 

('squUof man, i. 27, 91 ; ii. 18, 79 ; 
^ mT 12; of the world. i. 25 ff. . 36 

fif. ; ii. 24 gr. ' 57 ; i iL 28 tC 
sound, li. }j!i," 144, 1^67149 
Sparta, iL 165 ; iii. 91 
speech, organs of, ii. 148 ff. 
Speusippus (nepbew of Plato), i. 33 
sphaera, ii. 47, 55 ; (orrery) ii, 88, 97 
splierical forra divine, iL 45 ff. 
spider, ii. 123 

Spino, a river (unknown), iiL 52 
stars, divine, ii. 39 ; motions of, iL 

51 ff., 103 
Stephane of Parmenides, i. 28 
stcremnia, i. 49 
Stoics, i. 4 ; iii. 77 ; theology re- 

futed, i. 36 ff. ; defended, ii. 
Strato (became head of Lyceum, 

2S7 B.c), i. 35 
Stratonicus (Athenian musician in 

time of Alexander), iii. 50 
8un, iL 29, 40 ff., 79, 102, 118 f. ; 

iii. 37 ; mock suns, ii. 14 
'superstitio,' etymo.ogy of, ii. 72 
swerve of atoms, i. 69 
Syrian fish-worship, iiL 39 

Tantalidae, iii. 90 

teuth, iL 127, 134 ; iiL 57 

Teilus, iii. 52 

Terence quoted, ii. 60 ; iii. 72 f. 

Tliaumas, iii. 51 

TheLxinoe, iii. 54 

Theodorus (Cyrenaic philosopher, 

end of 4th cent. b.c), L 2, 63, 


theophanies denied, iii. 11 ff. 
Tlieuphrastus (succeeded Aristotle 

as head of Lyceura, d. 278 b.c), 

i. 35 
Theseus, iii. 45, 76 
Tlieuth, iii. 56 
Thyestes (brotlier of Atreus), iii. 

Thyone (name of deified Semele, 

motlier of Dionysus), iii. 58 
Tiberinus (deity of river Tiber), iiL 

tides, ii. 19 ; iii. 23 f. 
Timocrates (pupil of Epicurus), L 

Tiresias (mythical bliud seer), ii. 7 
transubstantiation, iii. 41 
Trasimene (Etruscan lake near 

Perusia), ii. 8 
Trieterides (biennial festival at 

Thebes), iii. 58 
Triton, i. 78 ; ii. 89 
Trophonius (built t«mple of Delphi, 

after death worshipped as hero 

and had oracular cave in Boeotia), 

iii. 49, 56 
Tubulus (praetor 142 b.c), L 63; 

iii. 74 
Tyndaridae, iii 11 

Ulixes, iL 166 

undogmatic theology defended, L 

10 f. 
Upis, iiL 58 
Uranus. See Caelus 

Valens Cltrvu?, son of Elatus), iiL 

Varius (tribune 91 b.c., tool of 

Equites against Drusus), his 

death (otherwise unknown), iii. 81 
vegetarianism, ii. 159 ; iii. 88 
Veiovis (ancient Sabine and Latin 

god), iii. 62 
Venus, ii. 60 f., 69 (etymology) ; iiL 

62 ; four of the name, iiL 57 
Vesta, iL 67, 80 
Victoria, iL 61 ; iii. 61, 88 
Victoriolae, iii. 84 
Vulcan, L 81, 83 f. ; iii. 64 t, 69, 


weazel, ii. 17 

Wolf-god in Egypt, iii. 47 



Xenocrates (39^1 -314 b.c, third 
head of Academy), i. 34, 72 

X*^nophanes (c. 576-480 b.c, born 
at Colophon, poet, founder of 
Eleatic school of philcsophy), i. 28 

Xenophon, i. 31 ; ii. 18 Qfemora- 
bilia quoted) ; iii. 27 

Xerxes, i. 115 

Zeno the Eleatic (pupil of Par- 

menides, died in attempting to 

put down tyranny at Elea), iii. 

Zeno, the Epicurean (b. at Sidon), 

i. 59 
Zeno, the founder of Stoicism (b. 

at Citium in Cyprus 3rd ceiit. 

B.c. ad fin.), i. 36, 57, 63, 70; ii, 

20, 57, 63 ; iii. 18, 22, 63, 77 
zodiao, ii. 53 






Dates of Composition and Revision. — In Cicero*s 
letters to Atticus written during the summer of 
45 B.c, when he was in retirement from public Hfe 
(see p. xi), there are many references to his work 
on this treatise. Writing from Astura on May 13, 
and alluding to the death of his daughter, he says : 

* Ego hic duo magna o-vrray/xaTa absolvi ; nullo enim 
aho modo a miseria quasi aberrare possum ' (Att. 
xii. 45. 1). On May 29, he writes from Tusculum 
(Ait. xiii. 32. 3) : * Torquatus Romaest ; misi ut tibi 
daretur. Catulum et Lucullum ut opinor antea ; 
his hbris nova prohoemia sunt addita quibus eorum 
uterque laudatur.' Here ' Torquatus ' means the 
first two books of De Finihus, and * Catuhis ' the 
first and * Lucullus ' the second book of Academica 
In its first shape ; so it is the latter treatise, and not 
De Finihus I. and II., that is probably referred to by 
the modest expression in the preceding quotation 

* two big compilations.' We infer that Academica 
in its first form was so far finished by the latter half 
of May that a copy was sent to Atticus, new prefaces 
being added a httle later. Cicero refers to the treatise 


as * Illam ^A/<aS7y/xtK'/)v a-vyTa^Lv * (^Att. xiii. 6. 1), 
but the two volumes were actually named Catulus 
and Lucullus, after the leading interlocutors in 
each. Hortensius also figured in Catulus, and Cicero 
in both. 

But Cicero was not satisfied with his work as it 
stood, and began at once to revise it, impro^-ing the 
style and making the treatment more concise : he 
also di\ided the two volumes into four. He writes 
of these alterations with great satisfaction (Att. xiii. 
13. 1 , June 26) : ' ex duobus hbris contuh in quattuor : 
grandiores sunt omnino quam erant iUi, sed tamen 
multa detracta.' Also (Att. xiii. 12. 3) Atticus seems 
to have suo-s^ested that a hterarv comphment was 
due to Varro, who had promised to dedicate an 
important work to Cicero (this was his De Lingua 
Latina) ; and Cicero writes that although two years 
had passed without Varro's having got on a yard 
with the work (* adsiduo cursu cubitum nullum pro- 
cesserit '), he has decided to transfer to him the 
dedication of Academica, and to postpone paying 
a comphment to Catulus, Lucullus and Hortensius, 
* homines nobiles ilh quidem sed nullo modo philo- 
logi ' (ibid.), in fact, well known, not indeed for 
o.TraLSevcTLa (want of education), but for arpLxj/La 
(lack of special training) in these subjects (^Att. 
xiii. 13. 1). 

CoNTENTS. — In Cicero's encyclopaedia of philosophy 
Academica is the article on Epistemology, the theory 
of knowledge. In his earher draft of the work, in 
Book L, Catulus, the scepticism of Carneades (Middle 
Academy) and his doctrine of ' probabihty ' were 


expounded by Catulus ; Hortensius countered with 
the dogmatism of Antiochus (Old Academy), and 
Cicero put the case of Philo (Middle Academy), 
that ' probability ' is consistent with Platonism. In 
Book II., Lucullus, Luculhis defended the cause 
of Antiochus by attacking Scepticism, and then 
Scepticism was defended by Cicero. In the second 
echtion Cicero and Varro were the sole interlocutors ; 
Cicero championed the Middle Academy as well 
as the New, and the Old Academy was assigned to 

It is to this second edition that Cicero refers in his 
letters in all allusions to the work after the alteration 
was made ; its title was now Academica, though he 
also describes it as * Academici hbri.' But he seems 
not to have succeeded in entirely suppressing the 
first edition ; and by a curious accident the second 
half of the first edition has come do^vn to us, while 
of the second edition only the first quarter and a few 
fragments of the remainder have survived. We 
therefore have only three quarters of the whole work, 
and only one quarter of it in the form finally author- 
ized by the -vvriter. Some modern editors have 
designated the extant part of Edition I. ' Academica 
Priora * and that of Edition II. * Academica 
Posteriora,' but so far as I know the significance 
intended to be conveyed by the adjectives in those 
titles has no classical authority. 

The position can be most clearly exhibited in 
tabular form ; the parts of the editions that are not 
now extant and the names of the speakers in those 
parts are printed in italics : 






Ed. I. 

Ed. II. 

C Catulus ') 

(' Academica, 
Liber I.') 

Carneades'8 scepticism : 


' Prohability.^ 

Antiochus's dogmatism. 



PhUo's ' Probability 




(Liber II.) 

Carneades^s scepticism. 


Antiochus's polemic 
against scepticism. 

Defence of scepticism. 

(• Lucullus.') (Liber III.) 
LucuUus. Varro. 


{Liher IV.) 

Dramatis Personae. — Q. Lutatius Catulus, a dis- 
tinguished leader of the aristocracy, was consul \vith 
Lepidus in 78 b.c, when he resisted his colleague's 
efforts to abrogate the acts of SuUa, and next year 
defeated him in the battle of the Milvian Bridge. 
He opposed the conferment of extraordinary powers 
on Pompey in 67 and 6G, and was censor with Crassus 
in 65. He died in 60. There is no e\-idence that he 
was interested in philosophy. In the dialogue he 
professes merely to put forward the views of his 
father, the famous colleague of Marius. The elder 
Catulus was a man of great culture and learning, 
but Cicero could not introduce him into the dialogue 
for reasons of chronology : he died in 87, committing 
suicide to escape the proscription of Marius. 

L. Licinius Lucullus (c. 110-57 b.c.) was also a 


siipporter of Sulla, and was famous as the conqueror 
of Slithridates. He was superseded in his command 
by Pompey in 66, and gradually withdrew from public 
hfe. He had amassed great wealth on his Asiatic 
campaigns, and was famous for the splendour of his 
estabhshments. He had Hterary tastes and was a 
generous patron of letters. 

Q. Hortensius (114-50 b.c.) made a career and a 
fortune by his oratorical abihty . An adherent of Sulla 
and the aristocratic party, he was consul in 69 ; but 
in the previous year the trial of Verres for peculation 
in Sicily had transferred the primacy in oratory from 
Verres' defender, Hortensius, to his prosecutor, 
Cicero. Hortensius was an opponent of Pompey, 
and on Pompey's coahtion with Crassus and Caesar 
in 60 he retired from poHtics. 

M. Terentius Varro (116-28 b.c.) was the most 
learned of scholars and the most encyclopaedic of 
WTiters. His works included agriculture, grammar, 
rehgious and political antiquities, biography, philo- 
sophy, geography and law ; some parts of his books 
on the first two subjects alone survive. He also had 
a pubHc career ; he held naval command against the 
pirates and against Mithridates, and he supported 
Pompey in the civil war, but after PharsaHa Caesar 
forgave him, and employed his talents in collecting 
books for a great pubHc Hbrary. 

The Imagixary Date of the dialogues in the first 
edition falls between 63 b.c, the year of Cicero's 
consulship (aUuded to Ac. ii. 62), and 60, when 
Catulus died. The scene of the first conversation 
(now lost) was the sea-side villa of Catulus at Cumae, 
west of Naples ; that of the second (our Academica II.), 
a day later, is Hortensius's villa at BauH, a Httle 



place on the Gulf of Puteoli (Pozzuoli), just east of 
Cumae. In the second edition the scene is laid at 
Varro's villa near the Lucrine Lake, the enclosed 
recess of the Gulf of PuteoU. The imaginary date 
is near the actual time of composition in 45 b.c. 
(' nuper,' Ac. i. 1). 

SouRCES OF AcADEMiCA. — Ciccro frequcntly states 
that his arguments for dogmatism are those of his old 
teacher, Antiochus of Ascalon ; and it is pretty clear 
that he merely transcribed them from some book or 
books of this authority. For dramatic effect, at 
Ac. ii. 11 f. he makes Lucullus profess to be producing 
arguments from his recollection of discussions in 
which Antiochus had taken part ; but there is no 
doubt that actually he is writing with a book of 
Antiochus in front of him, probably Sosus (see Ac. ii. 
12 note), a dialogue in which Antiochus combated 
his old teacher Philo. 

The arguments in defence of scepticism come 
partly from a work of Philo tvn.ce referred to, though 
not by its name {Ac. 1. 13, ii. 11) : this doubtless 
suppUed Cicero with the historical justification of 
the New Academy which concludes Book L, and 
probably also with the historical references with 
which he begins his speech that ends the work 
(Ac. ii. 66-78). The destructive arguments that 
these follow are very hkely taken from Chtomachus, 
who succeeded Carneades as head of the New Academy 
in 129 B.c. The constructive doctrines of Carneades 
that come next are drawn from two works of Chto- 
machus mentioned by their names (ii. 98, 103) ; and 
the historical passage that concludes is doubtless also 
from Chtomachus, who wrote a book Ilept AlpecrciDV 
(Diogenes Laertius ii. 92). 


Manuscripts. — Scholars range the mss. of Academtca 
I. in two famihes, derived from two archetypes of the 
twelfth century or older. Of the former family, one 
Ms., ' codex Puteanus,' Parisinus 6331 (which con- 
tains De Finihus also), is placed by recent critics in 
the twelfth century, and several mss. related to it 
belong to the fourteenth or fifteenth century. Of 
the latter family, all are fourteenth or fifteenth 
century. In the present edition only a few specially 
interesting variants are given, the readings of 
Puteanus being quoted as P, but the other mss. 
not being distinguished. 

Academica II. is contained in the same mss. as 
De Natura Deorum, for which see p. xviii. 

Editions. — J. S. Reid's edition of 1884 (London) is 
a most valuable resource ; it contains an exhaustive 
introduction and commentary. 

The newest text is that of Plasberg (Teubner, 
Leipzig, 1922). In this the evidence for the text is 
fuUy set out ; also the preface gives in full all the 
passages in Cicero's Letters that refer to Academica, 
and a valuable study of the relation between Cicero's 
two editions. 

Literary students will also be grateful to Mr. Plasberg 
for two quotations that grace the back of his title-page — 
one from Pliny {Nat. Hist. xxxi. 6) which shows that Cicero 
actually named his villa at Puteoli (Pozzuoli) ' Academia,' 
and the other from Copernicus, vvriting to Pope Paul III. 
in 1543 and saying that the earhest suggestion which he had 
seen that the eartii is in motion was a statement that he 
quotes from Cicero (viz. Ac. ii. 123). 

H. 11. 




CicERO Varroni 

1 Etsi munus flagitare, quamvis quis ostenderit, 
ne populus quidem solet nisi concitatus, tamen ego 
exspectatione promissi tui moveor ut admoneam te, 
non ut fiagitem. Misi autem ad te quattuor admoni- 
tores non nimis verecundos — nosti enim profecto os 
huius adulescentioris Academiae — ex ea igitur media 
excitatos misi, qui metuo ne te forte flagitent, ego 
autem mandavi ut rogarent. Exspectabam omnino 
iam diu. meque sustinebam ne ad te prius ipse quid 
scriberem quam aliquid accepissem, ut possem te 
remunerari quam simillimo munere. Sed cum tu 
tardius faceres, id est (ut ego interpretor) diligen- 
tius, teneri non potui quin coniunctionem studiorum 
amorisque nostri quo possem litterarum genere decla- 
rarem. Feci igitur sermonem inter nos habitmii in 

*• Munus denotes specially a gladiatorial show. 

^ \'arro had proniised to dedicate to Cicero his treatise 
De Lingua Latina, at which he was now working. 

'^ The four volumes of Academica, second edition, of which 
the first volume forms Book I. of the extant text. 

^ This hints at the ' young-mannishness ' and self-assertion 
of the New Academy. 



1 EvEN the public, unless stirred up to do so, does not 
as a rule actually demand a gift,** although some- 
body has held out an offer of one ; yet in my case 
eagerness for the present that you promised ^ prompts 
me to send you, not a demand, but a reminder. But 
the four emissaries that I am sending to remind you ^ 
are not excessively modest ones — for no doubt you are 
acquainted vA\S\ the ' cheek ' of this junior '^ Academy 
— well, it is from the very heart of that School that 
my messengers have been summoned ; and I am 
afraid that they may perhaps present a demand to 
you, although my instructions to them are to make a 
request. Anyway I have now been a long time wait- 
ing and keeping myself from \VTiting anything to you 
on my side before I had received something from 
you, so as to have the opportunity of making you as 
nearly as possible a repayment in kind. But as you 
have been acting rather slowly, that is (as I construe 
it) rather carefully, I have been unable to keep 
myself from making pubhc, in such Hterary form as 
was within my powers, the community of studies and 
of affection that unites us, I have accordingly com- 
posed a dialogue, held between us at my place at 



Cumano, cum esset una Pomponius ; tibi dedi partes 
Antioehinas, quas a te probari intellexisse mihi vide- 
bar, mihi sumpsi Philonis. Puto fore ut cum legeris 
mirere nos id locutos esse inter nos quod numquam 
2 locuti sumus ; sed nosti morem dialogorum. Posthac 
autem, mi Varro, quam plurima si videtur et de 
nobis inter nos ; sero fortasse, sed superiorum tem- 
porum fortuna rei publicae causam sustineat, haec 
ipsi praestare debemus. Atque utinam quietis tem- 
poribus atque aliquo si non bono at saltem certo statu 
civitatis haec inter nos studia exercere possemus ! 
quamquam tum quidem vel aliae quaepiam rationes 
honestas nobis et curas et actiones darent ; nunc 
autem quid est sine his cur vivere veHmus ? mihi 
vero cum his ipsis vix, his autem detractis ne vix 
quidem. Sed haec coram et saepius. Migrationem 
et emptionem fehciter evenire volo, tuumque in ea 
re consilium probo. Cura ut valeas. 

" What Cicero refers to is not recorded. 


ACADEMICA : Dedicatory LE-rrER 

Cumae, with Pomponius as one of the party ; I have 
cast you for the part of champion of Antiochus, who-^e 
doctrine I think I have understood you to approve of, 
while I have taken the role of Philo myself. When 
you read it I fancy you will be surprised at our holding 
a conversation that never actually took place ; but 
2 you know the convention as to dialo^ues. On some 
later occasion, my dear Varro, we will if you think fit 
have a very full talk together about our personal 
affairs as well ; too late, perhaps, but let the destiny 
of the commonwealth bear the responsibility for 
the days that are past, it is our duty to answer 
for the present. And would that we had the 
power to carry on these joint studies in a period of 
tranquillity, and with the affairs of state settled in 
some definite if not satisfactory manner ! although in 
that case indeed perhaps certain other interests would 
aiford us honourable subjects of thought and honour- 
able fields of action ; whereas now without our 
present studies what reason have we to wish to 
be alive? For my own part, even with them scarcely 
any, but if they be taken from me, not even scarcely ! 
But we ^\dll discuss this when we meet, and re- 
peatedly. I hope the move and the sale ° are turning 
out a success : I approve of your policy in that 
business. Good-bye, 




(editio posterior) 

1 I. In Cumano nuper cum mecum Atticus noster 
esset, nuntiatum est nobis a M. Varrone venisse eura 
Roma pridie vesperi et nisl de via fessus esset con- 
tinuo ad nos venturum fuisse. Quod cimi audisse- 
mus, nullam moram interponendam putavimus quin 
videremus hominem nobiscum et studiis eisdem et 
vetustate amicitiae coniunctum ; itaque confestim ad 
eum ire perreximus, paulumque cum ab^ eius villa 
abessemus ipsum ad nos venientem vidimus ; atque 
illum complexi ut mos amicorum est, satis eum longo 

2 intervallo ad suam villamreduximus. Hic pauca primo 
atque ea percontantibus nobis ecquid forte Roma 
novi ; tum^ Atticus " Omitte ista, quae nec percon- 
tari nec audire sine molestia possumus, quaeso," in- 
quit, " et quaere potius ecquid ipse novi ; silent enim 
diutius Musae Varronis quam solebant, nec tamen 

^ ab inseruit Wesenherg. 
* tum inseruit Reid. 

" This Book as we have it belongs to the second edition 
of Cicero's work, and is therefore entitled Academica 
Posteriora by some editors. 


BOOK 1« 


1 I. Mv friend Atticus was stayinff with me latelv at introduc- 

' 1 , r-i 1 ' tion. Scens 

my country-place at Lumae, wnen a message came of the 
to us from Marcus Varro's house that he had arrived «iiaiog^ie- 
from Rome on the evening of the day before, and if 
not fatigued from the journey intended to come 
straight on to us. On hearing this, we thought that 
no obstacle must intervene to delay our seeing a 
person united to us by identity of studies as well as by 
old friendship ; so we hastily set out to go to him, 
and were only a short distance from his country- 
house when we saw him coming towards us in person. 
\Ve gave our Varro a friend's embrace, and after a 
fairly long interval we escorted him back to his own 

2 house. Here there was first a Httle conversation, and 
that arising out of my asking whether Rome hap- 
pened to have been doing anything new ; and then 
Atticus said, " Do pray drop those subjects, about 
which we can neither ask questions nor hear the 
answers without distress ; inquire of him Instead 
whether he himself has done anything new. For 
Varro's Muses have kept silent for a longer time than 
they used, but all the same my behef is that your 

^ 4J1 


istum cessare sed celare quae scribat existimo." 
" Minime vero," inquit ille, " intemperantis enim 
arbitror esse scribere quod occultari velit ; sed habeo 
opus magnum in manibus, idque* iam pridem ; ad 
bunc enim ipsum " — me autem dicebat — " quae- 
dam institui, quae et sunt magna sane et limantur 

3 a me politius." Et ego " Ista quidem " inquam 
" Varro, iam diu exspectans non audeo tamen flagi- 
tare ; audivi enim e Libone nostro (cuius nosti 
studium) — nihil enim eum eius modi celare possumus 
— non te ea intermittere sed accuratius tractare nec 
de manibus imiqudm deponere. Illud autem mihi 
ante hoc tempus numquam in mentem venit a te 
requirere, sed nunc postea quam sum ingressus res 
eas quas tecum simul didici mandare monumentis, 
philosophiamque veterem illam a Socrate ortam 
Latinis litteris illustrare, quaero quid sit cur cum 
multa scribas hoc genus praetermittas, praesertim 
cum et ipse in eo excellas et id studium totaque ea 
res longe ceteris et studiis et artibus antecedat." 

4 II. Tima ille : " Ilem a me saepe dehberatam et 
multum agitatam requiris ; itaque non haesitans re* 
spondebo sed ea dicam quae mihi sunt in promptu, 
quod ista ipsa de re multum, ut dixi, et diu cogitavi. 

^ idque Christ : que vel quae codd. 

• Varro's De Lingua Latina, see Introduction p. 400. 

ACADEMICA, I. i.— ii. 

friend is not taking a holiday but is hiding what he 
writes." " Oh no, certainly not," said Varro, " for I 
think that to put in writing what one wants to be 
kept hidden is sheer recklessness ; but I have got a 
big task in hand, and have had for a long time : I 
have begun on a work^ dedicated to our friend here 
himself " — meaning me — " which is a big thing I can 
assure you, and which is getting a good deal of 

3 touching up and pohshing at my hands." At this I 
said, " As to that work of yours, \"arro, I have been 
waiting for it a long time now, but all the same I don't 
venture to demand it ; for I have heard (since we 
cannot hide anything of that kind) from our friend 
Libo, an enthusiastic student as you know% that you 
are not leaving it off, but are giving it increased 
attention, and never lay it out of your hands. How- 
ever, there is a question that it has never occurred to 
me to put to you before the present moment, but 
now, after I have embarked on the task of placing 
upon record the doctrines that I have learnt in 
common with you, and of expounding in Latin hterary 
form the famous old system of philosophy that took 
its rise from Socrates, I do put the question why, 
though you wTite a great deal, you pass over this 
class of subject, especially when you yourself are 
distinguished in it, and also when this interest and 
this whole subject far outstrip all other interests and 
other sciences ? " 

4 II. " The question that you ask," rejoined Varro, varro 

" is one which I have often pondered and considered phuisophl* 
deeply. And so I will not beat about the bush in ^ai author- 
my reply, but will say what at once occurs to me, Greeks. 
because I have, as I said, thought much and long 
upon the very point that you raise. For as I saw that 
P 413 


Nam cum philosophiam viderem diligentissime 
Graecis litteris explicatam, existima\i si qui de nostris 
eius studio tenerentur, si essent Graecis doctrinis 
eruditi, Graeca potius quam nostra lecturos ; sin a 
Graecorum artibus et disciplinis abhorrerent, ne haec 
quidem curaturos quae sine eruditione Graeca intel- 
legi non possunt ; itaque ea nolui scribere quae nec 
indocti intellegere possent nec docti legere curarent. 

6 Vides autem (eadem enim ipse didicisti) non posse 
nos Amafini aut Rabiri similes esse, qui nulla arte ad- 
hibita de rebus ante oculos positis vulgari sermone dis- 
putant, nihil definiunt, nihil partiuntur, nihil apta in- 
terrogatione concludunt, nullam denique artem esse 
nec dicendi nec disserendi putant. Nos autem prae- 
ceptis dialecticorum et oratorum etiam, quoniam 
utramque vim virtutem esse nostri putant, sic parentes 
ut legibus, verbis quoque no\ds cogimur uti,quae docti, 
ut dixi, a Graecis petere malent, indocti ne a nobis 
quidem accipient, ut frustra omnis suscipiatur labor. 

6 lam vero physica, si Epicurum, id est si Democritum 
probarem, possem scribere ita plane ut Amafinius ; 
quid est enim magnum, cum causas rerum efficien- 

" Epicurean writers with a large sale ; their works are 
now entirely lost. Epicurus himself decried the use of tech- 
nical language in philosophy. The speaker here touches 
on the three accepted departments of philosophy in their 
estabhshed order, Logic, Physics, Ethics, which study re- 
spectively the questions, how we know the facts of the 
world, what those facts are, and consequently what conduct 
will secure our welfare ? ' Physics ' for the ancients has not 
the hmited sense that the term bears now, but denotes the 
whole of Natural Science, including Biology, which is indeed 
specially suggested by the term, as <pvecdaL often means ' to 
grow,' of a hving organism. 

* Interrogatio is a synonym for ratio, and renders ipibrrjfjia, 



philosophy had been most carefuUy expounded in 
Greek treatises, I judged that any persons from our 
nation that felt an interest in the subject, if they were 
learned in the teachings of the Greeks, would sooner 
read Greek \\Titings than ours, and if on the other 
hand they shrank from the sciences and systems of 
the Greeks, they would not care even for philo- 
sophy, which cannot be understood without Greek 
learning : and therefore I was unwiUing to WTite 
what the unlearned would not be able to understand 
and the learned would not take the trouble to read. 

5 But you are aware (for you have passed through the Logio 
same course of study yourself) that we Academics 
cannot be hke Amafinius or Rabirius," who discuss 
matters that he open to the view in ordinary language, 
\\ithout employing any technicahty and entirely dis- 
pensing wdth definition and division and neat syllo- 
gistic proof,^ and who in fact beheve that no science 

of rhetoric or logic exists. But we for our part while 
obeying the rules of the logicians and of the orators 
also as if they were laws, for our school considers 
each of these faculties a merit, are compelled to 
employ novel terms as well, for which the learned, as 
I said, will prefer to go to the Greeks, while the un- 
learned will not accept them even from us, so that 

6 aU our toil will be undertaken in vain. Then as plfsIob, 
for natural philosophy, if I accepted the system of 
Epicurus, that is of Democritus, I could write about 

it as lucidly as Amafinius ; for when once you have 
abohshed causation, in the sense of efficient causes, 

properly denoting an argument developed in a series of 
questions, but also used for any form of proof, d7r6- 
Set^ij. Concludere =(jv\\oyi'^€adai^ denoting logical inference, 
and specially deduction. 



tiiim^ sustuleris, de corpusculorum (ita enim appellat 
atomos) concursione fortuita loqui ? Nostra tu phy- 
sica nosti, quae cum contineantur ex efFectione et ex 
materia ea quam fingit et format effectio, adhibenda 
etiam geometria est ; quam quibusnam quisquam 
enuntiare verbis aut quem ad intellegendum poterit 
adducere ? Haec^ ipsa de vita et moribus et de 
expetendis fugiendisque rebus illi simpliciter, pecudis 
enim et hominis idem bonum esse censent, apud 
nostros autem^ non ignoras quae sit et quanta subtili- 

7 tas : sive enim Zenonem sequare, magnum est 
efficere ut quis intellegat quid sit illud verum et 
simplex bonum quod non possit ab honestate seiungi, 
quod bonum quale sit omnino negat Epicurus se^ sine 
voluptatibus sensum moventibus ne suspicari qui- 
dem^ ; si vero Academiam veterem persequamur, 
quam nos, ut scis, probamus, quam erit illa acute ex- 
plicanda nobis ! quam argute, quam obscure etiam 
contra Stoicos disserendum ! Totum igitur illud 
philosophiae studium mihi quidem ipse sumo et ad 
vitae constantiam quantum possum et ad delecta- 
tionem animi, nec ullum arbitror, ut apud Platonem 
est, maius aut melius a dis datum munus homini. 

8 Sed meos amicos in quibus id^ est studium in Grae- 
ciam mitto, id est, ad Graecos ire iubeo, ut ex' fonti- 
bus potius hauriant quam rivulos consectentur ; quae 

^ efficientes Lambinus. 

* lacunam ante haec codd. : <ecce> haec Reid. 

^ autem Lamhinus : enim codd. 

* se inseruit Lamhinus. 

• ne suspicari quidem Durand : nec suspicari codd. 

" id inseruit Durand. 

' ex Halm : ea a codd. 

* i.e.^ (with arithmetic) the whole of mathematics so far a3 
then discovered. ' Timaeus 47 b. 



what is thcre remarkable in talking about the acci- 
dental coUision of minute bodies — that is his name 
for atoms ? The natural science of my school 
you know ; being a system that combines the 
efficient force and the matter \vhich is fashioned and 
shaped by the efficient force, it must also bring iii 
geometry ^ ; but what terminology, pray, will any- 
body have to use in explaining geometry, or whom 
^^ill he be able to bring to understand it ? Even this Ethics. 
department of ethics and the subject of moral choice 
and avoidance that school handles quite simply, for 
it frankly identifies the good of man with the good 
of cattle, but what a vast amount of what minute 
precision the teachers of our school display is not 

7 unknown to you. For if one is a follower of Zeno, it 
is a great task to make anybody understand the 
meaning of the real and simple good that is in- 
separable from morahty, because Epicurus entirely 
denies that he can even guess what sort of a thing 
good is without pleasures that excite the sense ; but 
if we should follow the lead of the Old Academy, the 
school that I as you know approve, how acutely we 
shall have to expound that system I How subtly, how 
profoundly even, we shall have to argue against the 
Stoics ! Accordingly for my own part I adopt the 
great pursuit of philosophy in its entirety both (so 
far as I am able) as a guiding principle of Hfe and as 
an intellectual pleasure, and I agree with the dictum 
of Plato ^ that no greater and better gift has been 

8 bestowed by the gods upon mankind. But my friends 
who possess an interest in this study I send to Greece, 
that is, I bid them go to the Greeks, so that they may 
draw from the fountain-heads rather than seek out 
mere rivulets ; while doctrines which nobody had 



autem nemo adliuc docuerat nec erat unde studiosi 
scire possent, ea quantum potui (nihil enim magno- 
pere meorum miror) feci ut essent nota nostris ; a 
Graecis enim peti non poterant ac post L. Aelii nostri 
occasum ne a Latinis quidem. Et tamen in illis 
veteribus nostris quae Menippum imitati, non inter- 
pretati, quadam hilaritate conspersimus, multa ad- 
mixta ex intima philosophia, multa dicta dialectice ; 
quae cum^ facihus minus docti intellegerent iucundi- 
tate quadam ad legendum invitati^ in laudationibus, 
in his ipsis antiquitatum prooemiis philosophis 
scribere voluimus, si modo consecuti sumus." 
9 in. Tum ego, " Sunt," inquam, " ista, Varro ; 
nam nos in nostra urbe peregrinantis errantisque 
tamquam hospites tui hbri quasi domum reduxerunt, 
ut possemus ahquando qui et ubi essemus agnoscere. 
Tu aetatem patriae, tu discriptiones temporum, tu 
sacrorum iura, tu sacerdotum,^ tu domesticam, tu 
belhcam disciphnam, tu sedem regionum, locorum, 
tu omnium divinarum humanarumque rerum nomina, 
genera, officia, causas aperuisti, plurimumque idem 
poetis nostris omninoque Latinis et htteris luminis et 
verbis attuhsti, atque ipse varium et elegans omni fere 
numero poema fecisti, philosophiamque multis locis 

1 cum Reid : quo codd. 

2 hic interponit lacunam Casauhon. 

3 sacerdotum <munera> Lambinus. 

" Only fragments are extant of Varro's Menippean Satires. 
Menippus was a Cynic philosopher and satirist hving at 
Gadara in the middle of the second century b.c. 

^ i.e.^ Ethics, see p. 414 note a. 

ACADEMICA, I. ii.— iii. 

been teaching up till now, and for which there was 
nobody available from whom those interested could 
learn them, I have done as much as lay in my power 
(for I have no great admiration for any of my own 
achievements) to make them known to our fellow- 
countrymen ; for these doctrines could not be ob- 
tained from the Greeks, nor from the Latins either 
since the demise of our countryman Lucius Aehus. 
And nevertheless in those old writers of our country 
whom in my imitation " (it is not a translation) of 
Menippus I treated with a certain amount of ridicule, 
there is a copious admixture of elements derived from 
the inmost depths of philosophy,^ and many utter- 
ances in good logical form ; and though in my funeral 
orations these were more easily intelHgible to less 
learned readers if they were tempted to peruse them 
by a certain attractiveness of style, when we come to 
the prefaces to my Antiquiiies, in these my aim was, 
if only I attained it, to write for philosophers." 
9 IIL " What you say, Varro, is true," I rejoined, Cicero 
" for we were wandering and straying about Hke lIud'^^ 
visitors in our own city, and your books led us, so to phiiosophy. 
speak, right home, and enabled us at last to reahze 
who and where we were. You have revealed the age 
of our native city, the chronology of its history, the 
laws of its religion and its priesthood, its civil and its 
military institutions, the topography of its districts 
and its sites, the terminology, classification and moral 
and rational basis of all our rehgious and secular 
institutions, and you have hkewise shed a flood of 
hght upon our poets and generally on Latin hterature 
and the Latin language, and you liave yourself com- 
posed graceful poetry of various styles in almost every 
metre, and have sketched an outUne of philosophy 



incohasti,ad impellendumsatis,ad edocendum parum. 

10 Causam autem probabilem tu quidem adfers, aut 
enim Graeca legere malent qui erunt eruditi, aut ne 
haec quidem qui illa nesciunt ; sed da mihi nunc — 
satisne probas ? Immo vero et haec qui illa non 
poterunt et qui Graeca poterunt non contemnent sua. 
Quid enim causae est cur poetas Latinos Graecis 
Htteris eruditi legant, philosophos non legant ? An 
quia delectat Ennius, Pacuvius, Attius, multi alii, qui 
non verba sed vim Graecorum expresserunt poetarum? 
Quanto magis philosophi delectabunt, si, ut illi 
Aeschylum, Sophoclem, Euripidem, sic hi Platonem 
imitentur, Aristotelem, Theophrastum ? Oratores 
quidem laudari video, si qui e nostris Hyperidem sint 

11 aut Demosthenem imitati. Ego autem (dicam enim 
ut res est), dum me ambitio, dum honores, dum 
causae, dum rei publicae non solum cura sed quaedam 
etiam procuratio multis officiis implicatum et con- 
strictum tenebat, haec inclusa habebam, et ne obsole- 
scerent renovabam cum licebat legendo ; nunc vero 
et fortunae gravissimo percussus vulnere et admini- 
stratione rei publicae liberatus doloris medicinam a 
philosophia peto et oti oblectationem hanc honestissi- 

" The death of his daughter Tullia. 


in many departments that is enough to stimulate 
the student though not enough to complete his 

10 instruction. But though it is true that the case you 
bring forward has some probabihty, as accomphshed 
students on the one hand will prefer to read the 
Greek wTitings, and on the other hand people who 
do not know those will not read these either, still, 
tell me now — do you quite prove your point ? The 
truth rather is that both those who cannot read the 
Greek books will read these and those who can read 
the Greek will not overlook the works of their own 
nation. For what reason is there why accompUshed 
Grecians should read Latin poets and not read Latin 
philosophers ? Is it because they get pleasure from 
Ennius, Pacuvius, Accius and many others, who have 
reproduced not the words but the meaning of the 
Greek poets ? How much more pleasure will they 
get from philosophers, if these imitate Plato, Aristotle 
and Theophrastus in the same way as those poets 
imitated Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides ? At 
all events I see that any of our orators that have 
imitated Hyperides or Demosthenes are praised. 

11 But for my own part (for I will speak frankly), so long 
as I was held entangled and fettered by the multi- 
farious duties of anibition, ofRce, htigation, pohtical 
interests and even some poUtical responsibiUty, I used 
to keep these studies within close bounds, and reUed 
merely on reading, when I had the opportunity, 
to revive them and prevent their fading away ; but 
now that I have been smitten by a grievously heavy 
blow " of fortune and also released from taking part 
in the government of the country, I seek from philo- 
sophy a cure for my grief and I deem this to be 
the most honourable mode of amusing my leisure. 



mam iudico. Aut enim huic aetati hoc maxime aptum 
est, aut iis rebus si quas dignas laude gessimus hoc 
m primis consentaneum, aut etiam ad nostros cives 
erudiendos nihil utiUus, aut si haec ita non sunt, nihil 

12 ahud video quod agere possimus. Brutus quidem 
noster, excellens omni genere laudis, sic philosophiam 
Latinis Htteris persequitur nihil ut iisdem de rebus 
Graeca desideres,^ et eandem quidem sententiam 
sequitur quam tu, nam Aristum Athenis audivit aH- 
quamdiu, cuius tu fratrem Antiochum. Quam ob rem 
da, quaeso, te huic etiam generi Utterarum." 

13 IV. Tum ille " Istuc quidem considerabo, nec vero 
sine te. Sed de te ipso quid est," inquit, " quod 
audio ? " " Quanam," inquam, " de re ? " " ReUc- 
tam a te veterem Academiam,^ " inquit, " tractari 
autem novam." " Quid ergo ? " inquam, " Antiocho 
id magis Ucuerit nostro famiUari, remigrare in domum 
veterem e nova, quam nobis in novam e vetere ? 
Certe enim recentissima quaeque sunt correcta et 
emendata maxime ; quamquam Antiochi magister 
Philo, magnus vir ut tu existimas ipse, negat in Ubris, 
quod coram etiam ex ipso audiebamus, duas Aca- 
demias esse, erroremque eorum qui ita putarunt 
coarguit." " Est," inquit, " ut dicis, sed ignorare 
te non arbitror quae contra ea^ Philonis Antiochus 

14 scripserit." " Immo vero et ista et totam veterem 

^ Aldus : Graecia desideret codd. 

* Academiam Bentley : illam Madvig : iam codd. 

^ ea inseruit Reid. 

<» Succeeded Antiochus as head of the Old Academy. 
^ i.e.i from Atticus. 

ACADEMICA, I. iii.— iv. 

For this occupation is the one most suited to my age ; 
or it is the one more in harmony than any other with 
such praiseworthy achievements as I can claim ; or 
else it is the most useful means of educating our 
fellow-citizens also ; or, if these things are not the 
case, I see no other occupation that is within our 

12 power. At all events our friend Brutus, who is 
eminent for every kind of distinction, is so successful 
an exponent of philosophy in a Latin dress that one 
could not feel the least need for Greek writings on 
the same subjects, and indeed he is an adherent of 
the same doctrine as yourself, as for a considerable 
time he heard the lectures of Aristus ° at Athens, 
whose brother Antiochus you attended. Pray there- 
fore devote yourself to this field of hterature also." 

13 IV. " I Mill deal with your point," he rejoined, 
although I shall require your assistance. But what 

is this news that I hear ^ about yourself ? " 

"What about, exactly ? " said I. " That you have varro 
abandoned the Old Academy, and are dealing ^\ith ^Howing 
the New." " What then ? " I said. " Is our friend defends oid 
Antiochus to have had more hberty to return from f^^^^^^^ 
the new school to the old, than we are to have to New ; Cicero 
move out of the old one into the new ? Why, there phiufmain- 
is no question that the neM'est theories are alwa^^s ^j^i"^ ^^^^ 
most correct and free from error ; although Philo, 
Antiochus's master, a great man as you yourself 
judge him, makes an assertion in his books which we 
used also to hear from his own hps, — he says that 
there are not two Academies, and proves that those who 
thought so were mistaken," "What you say is true," 
said he, " but I think that you are not unacquainted 
with what Antiochus MTote to combat those state- 

14 ments of Philo." " On the contrary, I should hke 



Academiam, a qua absum iam diu, renovari a te, nisi 
molestum est, velim ; et simul adsidamus," inquam, 
"si videtur." " Sane istud quidem," inquit, " sum 
enim admodum infirmus ; sed \ddeamus idemne 
Attico placeat fieri a me quod te velle video." " Mihi 
vero," ille, " quid est enim quod malim quam ex 
Antiocho iam pridem audita recordari, et simul videre 
satisne ea commode dici possint Latine ? " Quae 
cum essent^ dicta, in conspectu consedimus omnes.^ 

15 Tum Varro ita exorsus est : " Socrates mihi vide- 
tur, id quod constat inter omnes, primus a rebus 
occultis et ab ipsa natura involutis, in quibus omnes 
ante eum philosophioccupatifuerunt,avocavissephilo- 
sophiam et ad vitam communem adduxisse, ut de 
virtutibus et vitiis omninoque de bonis rebus et malis 
quaereret, caelestia autem vel procul esse a nostra 
cognitione censeret vel, si maxime cognita essent, 

16 nihil tamen ad bene vivendum. Hic in omnibus fere 
sermonibus qui ab iis qui illum audierunt perscripti 
varie copioseque sunt ita disputat ut nihil adfirmet 
ipse, refellat alios, nihil se scire dicat nisi id ipsum, 
eoque praestare ceteris quod illi quae nesciant scire 
se putent, ipse se nihil scire, id unum sciat, ob eamque 
rem se arbitrari ab Apolline omnium sapientissimum 

^ sint codd. plerique : deUnt edd. plerique, 
' oinnes delet Reid {metri tollendi causa), 


you, if you do not mind, to recapitulate the argu- 
ments to whicli you refer, and also the wholc theory 
of the Old Academy, with which I have been out of 
touch for a long while now ; and at the same time," 
I said, " let us if you please sit down for our talk." 
" Let us sit down by all means," he said, " for I am 
in rather weak health. But let us see whether 
Atticus would hke me to undertake the same task 
that I see you want me to." " To be sure I should," 
said Atticus, " for what could I hke better than to 
recall to memory the doctrines that I heard long ago 
from Antiochus, and at the same time to see if they 
can be satisfactorily expressed in Latin ? " After 
these remarks we took our seats in full view of one 

15 Then Varro began as follows : " It is my view, and varro 

it is universally agreed, that Socrates was the first ^ift^iocWs 
person M'ho summoned philosophy away from mys- dogmatism 
teries veiled in concealment by nature herself, upon (i) histori- 
which all philosophers before him had been enffaffed, ^,^^ '■ ^^_, 
and led it to the subject of ordinary hfe, in order to from 
investigate the virtues and vices, and good and evil ^^"^rates. 
generally, and to reaUze that heavenly matters are 
either remote from our knowledge or else, however 
fully known, have nothing to do with the good hfe. 

16 The method of discussion pursued by Socrates in 
almost all the dialogues so diversely and so fully re- 
corded by his hearers is to affirm nothing himself but 
to refute others, to assert that he knows nothing 
except the fact of his own ignorance, and that he sur- 
passed all other people in that they think they know 
things that they do not know but he himself thinks 
he knows nothing, and that he beHeved this to have 
been the reason why Apollo declared him to be the 



esse dictum quod haec esset una omnis^ sapientia, non 
arbitrari se scire quod nesciat. Quae cum diceret 
constanter et in ea sententia permaneret, omnis eius 
oratio tamen^ in virtute laudanda et in hominibus 
ad virtutis studium cohortandis consumebatur, ut 
e Socraticorum Ubris maximeque Platonis intellegi 

17 potest. Platonis autem auctoritate, qui varius et 
multiplex et copiosus fuit, una et consentiens duobus 
vocabuhs philosophiae forma instituta est, Academi- 
corum et Peripateticorum, qui rebus congruentes 
nominibus differebant ; nam cum Speusippum sororis 
filium Plato philosophiae quasi heredem reUquisset, 
duos autem praestantissimo studio atque doctrina, 
Xenocratem Calchedonium et Aristotelem Stagiriten, 
qui erant cum Aristotele Peripatetici dicti sunt quia 
disputabant inambulantes in Lycio, iUi autem quia^ 
Platonis instituto in Academia, quod est alterum 
gymnasium, coetus erant et sermones habere sohti, e 
loci vocabulo nomen habuerunt. Sed utrique Platonis 
ubertate completi certam quandam disciphnae formu- 
lam composuerunt et eam quidem plenam ac refer- 
tam, illam autem Socraticam dubitanter* de omnibus 
rebus et nulla adfirmatione adhibita consuetudinem 
disserendi reliquerunt. Ita facta est, quod minime 
Socrates probabat, ars quaedam philosophiae etrerum 

18 ordo et descriptio discipUnae. Quae quidem erat 

^ hominis Lambinus. ^ Gruter : tam codd. 

^ quia ? Reid : qui a, qui codd. 

* Baiter : dubitantem, dubitationem codd. 

« Plato, Apology, 21 a. 

^ Cicero is translating StdSoxos. 

* At the entrance to the Bosporus, nearly opposite to 
Byzantium. <* On the coast of Macedon. 

* This famous Athenian gymnasium had a much- 
frequented peripatos or promenade. 



^visest of all men,*^ because all wisdom consists solely 
in not thinkino; that you know what you do not know. 
He used to say this regularly, and remained firm in 
this opinion, yet nevertheless the whole of his dis- 
courses were spent in praising virtue and in exhorting 
mankind to the zealous pursuit of virtue, as can be 
gathered from the books of members of the Socratic 

17 school, and particularly from those of Plato. But 
originating with Plato, a thinker of manifold variety 
and fertiUty, there was estabhshed a philosophy that, 
though it had two appellations, was really a single 
uniform system, that of the Academic and the Peri- 
patetic schools, which while agreeing in doctrine 
differed in name ; for Plato left his sister's son 
Speusippus as ' heir ' ^ to his system, but two pupils 
of outstanding zeal and learning, Xenocrates, a 
native of Calchedon,^ and Aristotle, a native of 
Stagira ^ ; and accordingly the associates of Aris- 
totle were called the Peripatetics, because they used 
to debate while walking in the Lyceum,^ while the 
others, because they carried on Plato's practice of 
assembUng and conversing in the Academy, which is 
another gymnasium, got their appellation from the 
name of the place. But both schools drew plentiful 
supphes from Plato's abundance, and both framed a 
definitely formulated rule of doctrine, and this fully 
and copiously set forth, whereas they abandoned the 
famous Socratic custom of discussing everything in 
a doubting manner and without the admission of any 
positive statement. Thus was produced something 
that Socrates had been in the habit of reprobating 
entirely, a definite science of philosophy, with a 
regular arrangement of subjects and a formulated 

18 system of doctrine. At the outset it is true this was 



primo duobus, ut dixi, nominibus una, nihil enim 
inter Peripateticos et illam veterem Academiam 
differebat : abundantia quadam ingenii praestabat, 
ut mihi quidem videtur, Aristoteles, sed idem fons 
erat utrisque et eadem rerum expetendarum fugien- 
darumque partitio. 

V. " Sed quid ago ? " inquit " aut sumne sanus qui 
haec vos doceo ? nam etsi non sus Minervam, ut 
aiunt, tamen inepte quisquis Minervam docet." Tum 
Atticus, " Tu vero," inquit, " perge, Varro ; valde 
enim amo nostra atque nostros, meque ista delectant 
cum Latine dicuntur et isto modo." " Quid me," 
inquam, " putas, qui philosophiam iam professus sim 
populo nostro exhibiturum ? " " Pergamus igitur," 
19 inquit, " quoniam placet. Fuit ergo iam accepta a 
Platone philosophandi ratio triplex, una de vita et 
moribus, altera de natura et rebus occultis, tertia 
de disserendo et quid verum,^ quid falsum, quid 
rectum in oratione pravumve, quid consentiens, 
quid repugnans esset^ iudicando. Ac primum illam 
partem bene vivendi a natura petebant^ eique paren- 
dum esse dicebant, neque ulla aUa in re nisi in 
natura quaerendum esse illud summum bonum quo 
omnia referrentur, constituebantque extremum esse 
rerum expetendarum et finera bonorum adeptum 
esse omnia e natura et animo et corpore et vita. 

1 verum et codd. plurimi : verum sit Reid. 

* repugnans esset Miiller : repugnet codd. 

^ repetebant Reid. 

<» A proverb of Greek origin ; the story on which it was 
based does not seem to be recorded. Theocritus has it in a 
rather different form, Cs ttot' ' Xd-qvaiav ^piv i^piaev (5. 23), 
suggesting perhaps a challenge to a competition in music. 

^* t.«., the original Academy. 

* Vita denotes e/criy dyadd, ' external goods.* 

ACADEMICA, I. iv.— v. 

a single system with two names, as I said, for there 
was no difference between the Peripatetics and the 
Old Academy of those days. Aristotle excelled, as I 
at all events think, in a certain copiousness of in- 
tellect, but both schools drew from the same source, 
and both made the same classification of things as 
desirable and to be avoided. 

V. " But what am I about ? " he said, " am I quite 
all there, who teach these things to you ? Even if it 
is not a case of the proverbial pig teaching Minerva,** 
anyway whoever teaches Minerva is doing a silly 
thing." ** Do pray go on, Varro," rejoined Atticus, 
" for I love our hterature and our fellow-countrymen 
profoundly, and I dehght in the doctrines of your 
school when set forth in Latin and as you are setting 
them forth." " What do you suppose that I feel 
about it," said I, " seeing that I have already offered 
myself as an exponent of philosophy to our nation ? " 
" Well then, let us proceed," said he, " as we are (2) Anti- 
19 agreed. There already existed, then, a threefold EUiics : 
scheme of philosophy inherited from Plato : one J°g°^^\"^ 
division dealt with conduct and morals, the second bodUy and 
with the secrets of nature, the third with dialectic ^^^*^-^^^- 
and with judgement of truth and falsehood, correct- 
ness and incorrectness, consistency and inconsistency, 
in rhetorical discourse. And fur the first of these 
sections, the one deahng with the right conduct 
of hfe, they ^ went for a starting-point to nature, and 
declared that her orders must be foUowed, and that 
the chief good which is the ultimate aim of all things 
is to be sought in nature and in nature only ; and 
they laid it down that to have attained complete 
accordance with nature in mind, body and estate ^ 
is the limit of things desirable and the End of goods. 



Corporis autem alia ponebant esse in toto, alia in 
partibus, valetudinem vires pulchritudinem in toto, 
in partibus autem sensus integros et praestantiam 
aliquam partium singularum, ut in pedibus celeri- 
tatem, vim in manibus, claritatem in voce, in lingua 

20 etiam explanatam vocum impressionem. Animi 
autem quae essent ad comprehendendam virtutem 
idonea, eaque ab eis in naturam et mores divide- 
bantur : naturae celeritatem ad discendum et me- 
moriam dabant, quorum utrumque mentis esset pro- 
prium et ingenii, morum autem putabant studia esse 
et quasi consuetudinem, quam partim adsiduitate 
exercitationis, partim ratione formabant, in quibus 
erat ipsa philosophia. In qua quod incohatum est 
neque absolutum progressio quaedam ad virtutem 
appellatur, quod autem absolutum, id est virtus, quasi 
perfectio naturae omniumque rerum quas in animis 

21 ponunt una res optima. Ergo haec animorum. Vitae 
autem (id enim erat tertium) adiuncta esse dicebant 
quae ad virtutis usum valerent. Nam virtus in animi 
bonis et in corporis cernitur et in quibusdam quae 
non tam naturae quam beatae vitae adiuncta sunt. 
Hominem esse censebant quasi partem quandam 
civitatis et universi generis humani, eumque esse 
coniunctum cum hominibus humana quadam societate. 
Ac de summo quidem atque naturah bono sic agunt ; 

" Quasi marks consuetudo as a translation of ^do% and 
suggests its relation to ^dos. 

* This translates Zeno's term TrpoKotrr). ' TeXeiwacj. 

^ Translates fM4pos. * 17 dvdpuinvTi KOLvuvia. 



Among goods of tbe body they laid it down that some 
resided in the whole frame and others in the parts : 
health, strength and beauty were goods of the whole, 
goods of the parts were sound senses and the par- 
ticular excellences of the parts severally, for instance 
speed in the feet, power in the hands, clearness in the 
voice, and also an even and distinct articulation of 

20 sounds as a quahty of the tongue. Goodness of the 
mind consisted in the quahties conducive to the com- 
prehension of virtue ; these they divided into gifts 
of nature and features of the moral character — quick- 
ness of apprehension and memory they assigned to 
nature, each of them being a mental and intellectual 
property, while to the moral character they deemed 
to belong the interests or * habit ' " which they 
moulded partly by dihgent practice and partly by 
reason, practice and reason being the domain of 
philosophy itself. In this philosophy a commence- 
ment not carried to completion is called ' progress ' * 
towards virtue, but the completed course is virtue, 
which is the * consummation ' <= of nature, and is the 
most supremely excellent of all the faculties of the 
mind as they define them. This then is their account 

21 of the mind. To ' estate ' — that was the third 
division — they said belonged certain properties that 
influenced the exercise of virtue. For virtue is dis- 
played in connexion with the goods of the mind 
and those of the body, and with some that are the 
attributes not so much of nature as of happiness. 
Man they deemed to be, so to say, a ' part ' ^ of the 
state and of the human race as a whole, and they held 
that a man was conjoined with his fellow-men by the 
* partnership of humanity.' * And this being their 
treatment of the supreme good as bestowed by 



cetera autem pertinere ad id putant aut adaugendum 
aut tuendum,^ ut dmtias, ut opes, ut gloriam, ut 
gratiam. Ita tripartita ab iis inducitur ratio bonorum. 
22 VI. " Atque haec illa sunt tria genera quae putant 
plerique Peripateticos dicere. Id quidem non falso, 
est enim haec partitio illorum ; illud imprudenter, 
si alios esse Academicos qui tum^ appellarentur, alios 
Peripateticos arbitrantur. Communis haec ratio et 
utrisque hic bonorum finis videbatur, adipisci quae 
essent prima natura quaeque ipsa per sese expetenda, 
aut omnia aut maxima ; ea sunt autem maxima quae 
in ipso animo atque in ipsa virtute versantur. Itaque 
omnis illa antiqua philosophia sensit in una virtute 
esse positam beatara vitam, nec tamen beatissimam 
nisi adiungerentur et corporis et cetera quae supra 

23 dicta sunt ad virtutis usum idonea. Ex hac descrip- 
tione agendi quoque aliquid in vita et offici ipsius 
initium reperiebatur, quod erat in conservatione 
earum rerum quas natura praescriberet. Hinc gigne- 
batur fuga desidiae voluptatumque contemptio, ex 
quo laborum dolorumque susceptio multorum magno- 
rumque recti honestique causa et earum rerum quae 
erant congruentes cum descriptione naturae, unde et 
amicitia exsistebat et iustitia atque aequitas, eaeque 
et voluptatibus et multis vitae commodis antepone- 
bantur. Haec quidem fuit apud eos morum institutio et 
eius partis quam primam posui forma atque descriptio. 

24 " De natura autem (id enim sequebatur) ita dice- 

^ Lamhinus : tenendum codd. 
2 Reid : dum codd. 

" A dual rendering of rb koXop, 

ACADEMICA, I. v.— vi. 

nature, all other goods they considered to be factors 
contributing either to its increase or to its protection, 
for instance wealth, resources, fame, influence. Thus 
they introduced a triple classification of goods. 

22 VI. " And this corresponds with the three classes 
of goods which inost people think to be intended by 
the Peripatetics. This is indeed correct, for this 
classification is theirs, but it is a mistake if people 
suppose that the Academics quoted above and the 
Peripatetics were different schools. This theory was 
common to both, and both held that the end of goods 
was to acquire either all or the greatest of the things 
that are by nature primary, and are intrinsically 
worthy of desire ; and the greatest of these are the 
ones which have their being in the mind itself and 
in virtue itself. Accordingly the whole of the great 
philosophy of antiquity held that happiness hes in 
virtue alone, yet that happiness is not supreme ^vith- 
out the addition of the goods of the body and all the 
other goods suitable for the employment of virtue that 

23 were specified above. From this scheme they used 
also to arrive at a first principle of conduct in Hfe and 
of duty itself, which principle lay in safeguarding the 
things that nature prescribed. Hence sprang the duty 
of avoiding idleness and of disregarding pleasures, 
leading on to the undergoing of many great toils 
and pains for the sake of the right and noble,'^ and 
of the objects in harmony with the plan marked out 
by nature, from which sprang friendship, and also 
justice and fairness ; and these they rated higher 
than pleasures and an abundance of the good things 
of life. This then was their system of ethics, the 
plan and outUne of the department that I placed first. 

24 " The subject of nature (for that came next) they 


Virtue atid 


bant tit eam dividerent in res duas, ut altera esset 
efficiens, altera autem quasi huic se praebens, ex 
qua^ efficeretur aliquid. In eo quod efficeret \dm esse 
censebant, in eo autem quod efficeretur materiam 
quandam ; in utroque tamen utrumque, neque enim 
materiam ipsam cohaerere potuisse si nulla vi con- 
tineretur, neque vim sine ahqua materia (nihil est 
enim quod non alicubi esse cogatur). Sed quod ex 
utroque, id iam corpus et quasi quahtatem quandam 
nominabant — dabitis enim profecto ut in rebus inusi- 
tatis, quod Graeci ipsi faciunt a quibus haec iam diu 
tractantur, utamur verbis interdum inauditis." 
25 VII. " Nos vero," inquit Atticus ; " quin etiam 
Graecis hcebit utare cum voles, si te Latina forte 
deficient." " Bene sane facis ; sed enitar ut Latine 
loquar, nisi in huiusce modi verbis, ut philosophiam 
aut rhetoricam aut physicam aut dialecticam appel- 
lem, quibus ut ahis multis consuetudo iam utitur pro 
Latinis. QuaUtates igitur appellavi quas Trotor/yTas 
Graeci vocant, quod ipsum apud Graecos non est 

^ ex qua Turnehus : eaque codd. : ex eaque Mdv. 

" The two dpxci'» TroirjTLK-r) and iradT^TLK-q. Qiiasi marks 
huic se praebens as a translation of the latter. 

* Qiiandam apologizes for the use of materia^ 'timber/ as 
a philosophical term to translate t^X-q. 

« This clause explains the preceding clause only and is 
traceable ultimately to Timaeus 52 b (pd/ieu di^ayKalov ehai 
irov To bu dirav iv tlvl towlc, Apparently Antiochus with 
Plato identified matter and space. 

^ i.e., organized matter, materia being matter as yet un- 

* Cicero apologizes for coining the word qualitas to render 
iroL6Tr)$f ' what-sort-ness,' a term coined by Plato, Theaetetus^ 
189 A ; the Latin abstract noun, hke the Greek, is used for 
the concrete, ' a thing of a certain quaUty,' an object possess- 
ing certain properties. 


ACADEMICA, I. vi.— vii. 

dealt with by the method of dividing nature into two (3) Anti- 
principles," the one the active, and the other thep^^y^-gg. 
' passive,' on which the active operated and out of entities are 
which an entity ^vas created. The active principle hiformed 
they deemed to constitute force, the one acted on, ^y force. 
a sort of ' material ' '^ ; yet they held that each of 
the two was present in the combination of both, for 
matter could not have formed a concrete whole by 
itself ^\ith no force to hold it together, nor yet force 
without some matter (for nothing exists that is not 
necessarily somewhere ^). But when they got to the 
product of both force and matter, they called this 
'body,'^ and, if I may use the term, ' quahty ' ^ — 
as we are deaUng wdth unusual subjects you ^vdll 
of course allow us occasionally to employ words 
never heard before, as do the Greeks themselves, 
who have now been handhng these topics for a long 
25 VII. " To be sure we will," said Atticus ; " indeed 
you shall be permitted to employ even Greek words 
if Latin ones happen to fail you." " That is certainly 
kind of you, but I will do my best to talk Latin, 
except in the case of words of the sort now in 
question, so as to employ the term ' philosophy ' or 
* rhetoric ' or ' physics ' ^ or * dialectic,' ^ which hke 
many others are now habitually used as Latin words. 
I have therefore given the name of ' quahties ' to the 
things that the Greeks call poiotetes ; even among 
the Greeks it is not a word in ordinary use, but 

' i.e., the whole of natural science, of which physics in the 
modern sense is a part. 

" i.e., \ogic (including both formal logic and epistemology 
or the theory of knowiedge, cf. ii. 142) ; XoyiKrj included both 
5ta\e/cTi/cv) and pT]TopiK7]. C/. § 30 n. 



vulgi verbum sed philosophorum ; atque id in multis. 
Dialecticorum vero verba nulla sunt pubHca, suis 
utuntur ; et id quidem commune omnium fere est 
artium, aut enim nova sunt rerum novarum facienda 
nomina aut ex ahis transferenda. Quod si Graeci faciunt 
qui in his rebus tot iam saecula versantur, quanto id 
magis nobis concedendum est qui haec nunc primum 
26 tractare conamur ? " " Tu vero," inquam, " Varro, 
bene etiam meriturus mihi videris de tuis civibus si 
eos non modo copia rerum auxeris, ut fecisti,^ sed 
etiam verborum." " Audebimus ergo," inquit, "novis 
verbis uti te auctore si necesse erit. Earum igitur 
quahtatum sunt ahae principes, aUae ex his ortae. 
Principes sunt unius modi et simplices ; ex his autem 
variae ortae sunt et quasi multiformes. Itaque aer 
(hoc quoque utimur iam^ pro Latino) et ignis et 
aqua et terra prima sunt ; ex his autem ortae animan- 
tium formae earumque rerum quae gignuntur e terra. 
Ergo illa initia et (ut e Graeco vertam) elementa 
dicuntur ; e quibus aer et ignis movendi vim habent 
et efficiendi, reliquae^ partes accipiendi et quasi 
patiendi, aquam dico et terram. Quintum genus, e quo 
essent astra mentesque, singulare eorumque quattuor 
quae supra dixi dissimile Aristoteles quoddam esse 

^ ut effecisti codd. fere omnes : uti fecisti KJotz, 
' Halm : enim codd. ^ reliqua Jlalm. 

* i.e., ' qualified objects,' classes of things, abstract for 
concrete, cf. § 24-. ^ iroXveidrjs. 

* A literal translation of (pvrd — the vegetable kingdom. 
** a.pxo.i. * (TTOixela. 

* Halm's emendation gives ' and the remaining elements 

• . . the receptive and passive role.' But c/. Tusc. i. 40 

* terram et mare . . . reliquae duae partes.' 


belongs to the philosophers, and this is the case with 
many terms. But the dialecticians' vocabulary is 
none of it the popular language, they use words of 
their own ; and indeed this is a feature shared by 
almost all the sciences : either new names have to be 
coined for new things, or names taken from other 
things have to be used metaphorically. This being 
the practice of the Greeks, who have now been en- 
gaged in these studies for so many generations, how 
much more ought it to be allowed to us, who are now 
attempting to handle these subjects for the first 
26 time ! " " Indeed, Varro," said I, " I think you will The 
actually be doing a ser\dce to your fellow-countrymen ^^^"^"'^^ 
if you not only enlarge their store of facts, as you 
have done, but of words also." " Then on your 
authority we will venture to employ new words, if we 
have to. Well then, those qualities "■ are of two sorts, 
primary and derivative. Things of primary quahty 
are homogeneous and simple ; those derived from 
them are varied and ' multiform.' ^ Accordingly 
air (this word also we now use as Latin) and fire and 
water and earth are primary ; while their derivatives 
are the species of hving creatures and of the things 
that grow out of the earth.*' Therefore those things 
are termed first principles ^ and (to translate from 
the Greek) elements * ; and among them air and fire 
have motive and efficient force, and the remaining 
divisions, I mean water and earth, receptive and 
' passive ' capacity.-'' Aristotle deemed that there 
existed a certain fifth sort of element,^ in a class by 
itself and unhke the four that I have mentioned above, 
which was the source of the stars and of thinkino: 

' This TreiJLnTT) ovaia, quinta essentia. has floated down to 
us in the word ' quintessence.' 



21 rebatur. Sed subiectam putant omnibus slne ulla 
specie atque carentem omni illa qualitate (facia- 
mus enim tractando usitatius hoc verbum et tritius) 
materiam quandam, e qua omnia expressa atque ef- 
ficta sint, quae una omnia accipere possit omnibusque 
modis mutari atque ex omni parte, atque etiam interire, 
non in nihilum sed in suas partes, quae infinite secari 
ac dividi possint, cum sit nihil omnino in rerum natura 
minimum quod dividi nequeat ; quae autem movean- 
tur, omnia intervaUis moveri, quae intervalla item 

28 infmite dividi possint. Et cum ita moveatur illa vis 
quam quaUtatem esse diximus et cum sic ultro 
citroque versetur, et materiam ipsam totam penitus 
commutari putant et illa effici quae appellant quaha, 
e quibus in omni natura cohaerente et continuata 
cum omnibus suis partibus unum effectum esse mun- 
dum, extra quem nulla pars materiae sit nuUumque 
corpus, partes autem esse mundi omnia quae insint 
in eo quae natura sentiente teneantur, in qua ratio 
perfecta insit quae sit eadem sempiterna (nihil enim 

29 valentius esse a quo intereat) ; quam vim animum 
esse dicunt mundi, eandemque esse mentem sapien- 
tiamque perfectam, quem deum appehant, omnium- 
que rerum quae sint ei subiectae quasi prudentiam 
quandam, procurantem caelestia maxime, deinde in 
terris ea quae pertineant ad homines ; quam inter- 

" i.e., spaces of void or vacuum that are between the soHds 
and enable them to move. 

* See § 25 n. The Stoics asserted that everything real 
has two components, the active and the passive, force and 
matter, and they expressed the former as ' quahty ' ; but they 
emphasized their materiahsm by sometimes speaking of the 
qualifying force as a current of air. 

« TToid. ** Aatura = ov<jla = \yKT], ef. ii. 118. 

* Cf. N.D. ii. 22, 75, 85. 


27 minds. But they hold that underlying all things is Matter and 
a substance called ' matter,' entirely formless and j^jHn^teiy 
devoid of all 'quality ' (for let us make this word 'livisibie. 
more familiar and manageable by handhng), and that 

out of it all things have been formed and produced, 
so that this matter can in its totahty receive all 
things and undergo every sort of transformation 
throughout every part of it, and in fact even suffer 
dissolution, not into nothingness but into its own 
parts,which are capable of infinite sectionand division, 
since there exists nothing whatever in the nature of 
things that is an absolute least, incapable of division ; 
but that all things that are in motion move by 
means of interspaces,° these Ukewise being infinitely 

28 divisible. And since the force that we have called The Cosvwa. 
* quality ' ^ moves in this manner and since it thus 

^vibrates to and fro, they think that the whole of 
matter also is itself in a state of complete change 
throughout, and is made into the things which they 
term * quahfied,' " out of which in the concrete 
whole of substance,^ a continuum united with all its 
parts, has been produced one world, outside of which 
there is no portion of matter and no body, w^hile all 
the things that are in the world are parts of it, held 
together by a sentient being,^ in w^hich perfect reason, 
is immanent, and which is immutable ^ and eternal 
since nothing stronger exists to cause it to perish ; 

29 and this force they say is the soul of the world, and The aii- 
is also perfect intelhgence and wisdom, which they r^^oq"" 
entitle God, and is a sort of * providence ' ^ knowing 

the things that fall within its pro\"ince, governing 

especially the heavenly bodies, and then those things 

on earth that concern mankind ; and this force they 

^ Eadem denotes self-identity. ' irpovoLa. 



diun eandem necessitatem appellant, quia nihil aliter 
possit^ atque ab ea constitutum sit inter'* quasi 
fatalem et immutabilem continuationem ordinis sem- 
piterni ; non numquam quidem eandem fortunam, 
quod efficiat multa improvisa ac necopinata nobis 
propter obscuritatem ignorationemque causarum. 

30 VIII. " Tertia deinde philosophiae pars, quae erat 
in ratione et in disserendo, sic tractabatur ab utris- 
que. Quamquam oriretur a sensibus, tamen non 
esse iudicium veritatis in sensibus : mentem volebant 
rerum esse iudicem ; solam censebant idoneam cui 
crederetur, quia sola cerneret id quod semper esset 
simplex et unius modi et tale quale esset. Hanc illi 
ISeav appellant, iam a Platone ita nominatam, nos 

31 recte speciem possimius dicere. Sensus autem omnes 
hebetes et tardos esse arbitrabantur nec percipere 
ullo modo res ullas quae subiectae sensibus viderentur,^ 
quod aut ita essent parvae ut sub sensum cadere non 
possent, aut ita mobiles et concitatae ut nihil umquam 
unum esset^ constans, ne idem quidem, quia conti- 
nenter laberentur et fluerent omnia ; itaque hanc 

32 omnem partem rerum opinabilem appellabant. Scien- 
tiam autem nusquam esse censebant nisi in animi 
notionibus atque rationibus ; qua de causa defini- 
tiones rerum probabant et has ad omnia de quibus 
disceptabatur adhibebant. Verborum etiam expU- 
catio probabatur, id est, qua de causa quaeque essent 
ita nominata, quam eVv/xoAoyiai/ appellabant ; post 

^ <esse> possit ? ed. ^ inter : evenire Turnebus, 

3 esset <et> edd.f esset <aut> Reid. 

*• KaTTfvayKaa jxhrfv tlvcl Kal airapa^aTov avfJLirXoK-fiv. 
* A dual rendering of \oyiK-q, or perhaps of 8ia\eKTiKri. 
Spp § 27 n. * i.e., definition of res, things, not of words. 


ACADEMICA, I. vii.— viii. 

also sometimes call Necessity, because nothing can 
happen otherwise than has been ordained by it 
under a * fated and unchangeable concatenation of 
everlasting order ' ° ; although they sometimes also 
term it Fortune, because many of its operations are 
unforeseen and unexpected by us on account of their 
obscurity and our ignorance of causes. 

30 VIII. " Then the third part of philosophy, con-(4)Anti. 
sisting in reason and in discussion,^ was treated by ^q^q^ 
them both as follows. The criterion of truth arose 
indeed from the senses, yet was not in the senses : 

the judge of things was, they held, the mind — they 
thought that it alone deserves credence, because it 
alone perceives that which is eternally simple and 
uniform and true to its own quahty. This thing they 
call the Idea, a name already given it by Plato ; we 

31 can correctly term it form. All the senses on the 
other hand they deemed to be duU and sluggish, and 
entirely unperceptive of all the things supposed to 
fall within the province of the senses, which were 
either so small as to be imperceptible by sense, or in 
such a violent state of motion that no single thing 
was ever stationary, nor even remained the same 
thing, because all things were in continual ebb and 
flow ; accordingly all this portion of things they 

32 called the object of opinion. Knowledge on the 
other hand they deemed to exist nowhere except in 
the notions and reasonings of the mind ; and conse- 
quently they approved the method of defining things, 
and applied this ' real definition ' '^ to all the subjects 
that they discussed. They also gave approval to 
derivation of words, that is, the statement of the 
reason why each class of things bears the name 
that it does — the subject termed by them etymology 



argumentis quibusdam^ et quasi rerum notis ducibus 
utebantur ad probandum et ad coneludendum id quod 
explanari volebant ; in quo- tradebatur omnis dialec- 
ticae disciplina, id est, orationis ratione conclusae ; 
huic quasi ex altera parte oratoria \as dicendi adhibe- 
batur, expUcatrix orationis perpetuae ad persuaden- 
dum accommodatae. 

33 " Haec erat iUis prima forma^ a Platone tradita ; 
cuius quas acceperim immutationes,^ si vultis, ex- 
ponam." " Nos vero volumus," inquam, " ut pro 
Attico etiam respondeam." " Et recte," inquit, 
" respondes ; praeclare enim explicatur Peripateti- 
corum et Academiae veteris auctoritas." 

IX. " Aristoteles^ primus species quas paulo ante 
dixi labefacta\-it, quas mirifice Plato erat amplexatus, 
ut in iis quiddam divinum esse diceret. Theophrastus 
autem, vir et oratione suavis et ita moratus ut 
probitatem quandam prae se et ingenuitatem ferat, 
vehementius etiam fregit quodam modo auctoritatem 
veteris disciphnae ; spoHavit enim virtutem suo 
decore imbecillamque reddidit quod negavit in ea 

34 sola positum esse beate vivere. Nam Strato eius 
auditor, quamquam fuit acri ingenio, tamen ab ea 
disciphna omnino semovendus est, qui cum maxime 
necessariam partem philosophiae, quae posita est in 
\1rtute et moribus, reliquisset totumque se ad investi- 
gationem naturae contuHsset, in ea ipsa plurimum 
dissedit a suis. Speusippus autem et Xenocrates, qui 

^ quibusdam delendum ? {om. codd. nonnulli). 

2 Manutius : qua codd. 
* prima forma Reid : prima codd. : forma Mdv. 
* Davies : disputationes codd. 
^ Aristoteles iy^itur cod. unvs. 
" Qaasi marks notis as an explanation of argumentis used 
to translate avjx^oXa, ' avTlaTpocpov, 



. Vlll. IX. 

and then they used derivations as * tokens ' or so to 
say marks ° of things, as guides for arriving at proofs 
or conclusions as to anything of which they desired 
an explanation ; and under this head was imparted 
their whole doctrine of Dialectic, that is, speech cast 
in the form of logical argument ; to this as a ' coun- 
terpart ' ^ \vas added the faculty of Rhetoric, which 
sets out a continuous speech adapted to the purpose 
of persuasion. 

J3 " This was their primary system, inherited from Departorea 
Plato ; and if you wish I will expound the modifica- [jj^'" ^^® 
tions of it that have reached me." " Of course doctrine 
we wlsh it," said I, " if I may reply for Atticus as 
well." " And you reply correctly," said Atticus, 
" for he is giving a brilliant exposition of the doctrine 
of the Peripatetics and the Old Academy." 

IX. " Aristotle was the first to undermine the 
Forms of which I spoke a Httle while before, w^hich 
had been so marvellously embodied in the system of 
Plato, who spoke of them as containing an element 
of divinity. Theophrastus, who has a charming style 
and also a certain conspicuous uprightness and 
nobiUty of character, in a way made an even more 
violent breach in the authority of the old doctrine ; 
for he robbed virtue of her beauty and weakened her 
strength by denying that the happy hfe is placed in 

34 her alone. As for his pupil Strato, although he had a 
penetrating intellect nevertheless he must be kept 
altogether separate from that school ; he abandoned 
the most essential part of philosophy, which consists 
in ethics, to devote himself entirely to research in 
natural science, and even in this he differed very 
widely from his friends. On the other hand Speusip- 
pus and Xenocrates, the first inheritors of the system 



primi Platonis rationem auctoritatemque susceperant, 
et post eos Polemo et Crates unaque Crantor in 
Academia congregati diligenter ea quae a superiori- 

35 bus acceperant tuebantur. lam Polemonem audi- 
verant adsidue Zeno et Arcesilas ; sed Zeno cimi 
Arcesilam anteiret aetate valdeque subtiliter dis- 
sereret et peracute moveretur, corrigere conatus est 
disciplinam. Eam quoque, si videtur, correctionem 
explicabo, sicut solebat Antiochus." " Mihi vero," 
inquam, " videtur, quod vides idem significare 

X. " Zeno igitur nullo modo is erat qui ut Theo- 
phrastus nervos virtutis inciderit, sed contra qui 
omnia quae ad beatam vitam pertinerent in una 
virtute poneret nec quidquam aliud numeraret in 
bonis, idque appellaret honestum, quod esset simplex 

36 quoddam et solum et unum bonum. Cetera autem 
etsi nec bona nec mala essent, tamen alia secundum 
naturam dicebat,^ aUa naturae esse^ contraria ; his 
ipsis aha interiecta et media numerabat. Quae 
autem secundum naturam essent, ea sumenda et 
quadam aestimatione dignanda docebat, contraque 
contraria, neutra autem in mediis rehnquebat. In 

37 quibus ponebat nihil omnino esse momenti, sed quae 
essent sumenda,^ ex iis aUa pluris esse aestimanda, 
aUa minoris : quae pluris ea praeposita appeUabat, 
reiecta autem quae minoris. Atque ut haec non tam 
rebus quam vocabuUs commutaverat, sic inter recte 

^ Lamhinus : docebat codd. ^ [esse] Ernesti. 

^ sumenda : media Davies : <non> sumenda ? ed. 
" To KaXov. 

' Sumenda is carelessly put for neutra — unless indeed the 
text should be corrected by inserting '' not to be chosen." 

* t.«., of minus value, in grades of undesirability : this 
inaccuracy occurs in the Greek authorities. 

ACADEMICA, I. ix.— x. 

and aiithority of Plato, and after them Polemo and 
Crates, and also Crantor, gathered in the one fold of 
the Academy, were assiduous defenders of the doc- 
trines that they had received from their predecessors. 
36 Finally, Polemo had had diligent pupils in Zeno and countered 
Arcesilas, but Zcno, who was Arcesilas's senior in age ^^ ^®"°* 
and an extremely subtle dialectician and very acute 
thinker, instituted a reform of the system. This re- 
modelled doctrine also I willexpound, if you approve, 
as it used to be expounded by Antiochus." " I do 
approve," said I, " and Pomponius, as you see, in- 
dicates his agreement." 

X. " Well, Zeno was by no means the man ever to Zeno'8 
hamstring virtue, as Theophrastus had done, but on ^iassifica. 
the contrary to make it his practice to place all the tnn of^ 
constituents of happiness in virtue alone, and to in- vfrtue the 
clude nothing else in the category of Good^ entithng *°^® 6°°^- 
virtue * the noble,' " which denoted a sort of uniform, 

36 unique and sohtary good. All other things, he said, 
were neither good nor bad, but nevertheless-some of 
them were in accordance with nature and others con- 
trary to nature ; also among these he counted another 
interposed or * intermediate ' class of things. He 
taught that things in accordajiceAvith nature were to 
be chosen and estimated as having a certain value, 
and their opposites the opposite, while things that 
were neither he left in the * intermediate ' class. 
These he declared to possess no motive force whatever, 

37 but among things to be chosen ^ some were to be 
deemed of more value and others of less ^ : the more 
valuable he termed ' preferred,' the less valuable, 
* rejected.' _And just as with these he had made an 
alteration of terminology rather than of substance, 

Q 44>5 


factum atque peccatum ofiicium et contra ofRcium 
media locabat quaedam, recte facta sola in bonis 
[actionibus]^ ponens, prave, id est peccata, in malis ; 
officia autem^ servata praetermissaque media putabat, 

38 ut dixi. Cumque superiores non omnem virtutem in 
ratione esse dicerent sed quasdam virtutes natura 
aut more perfectas, hic omnes in ratione ponebat ; 
cumque illi ea genera virtutum quae supra dixi 
seiungi posse arbitrarentur, hic nec id ullo modo fieri 
posse disserebat nec virtutis usum modo,ut superiores, 
sed ipsum habitum per se esse praeclarum, nec tamen 
vlrtutem cuiquam adesse quin ea semper uteretur. 
Cumque perturbationem animi illi ex homine non 
tollerent, naturaque et condolescere et concupiscere 
et extimescere et efFerri laetitia dicerent, sed ea con- 
traherent in angustumque deducerent, hic omnibus 

39 his quasi morbis voluit carere sapientem ; cumque 
eas perturbationes antiqui naturales esse dicerent et 
rationis expertes, aliaque in parte animi cupiditatem, 
alia rationem collocarent, ne his quidem adsentie- 
batur, nam et perturbationes voluntarias esse putabat 
opinionisque iudicio suscipi et omnium perturba- 
tionum matrem esse arbitrabatur immoderatam 
quandam intemperantiam. Haec fere de moribus. 

XI. " De naturis autem sic sentiebat, primum ut in 
quattuor initiis rerum iUis quintam hanc naturam ex 
qua superiores sensus et mentem effici rebantur non 

^ ed. 2 autem Lamhinus : autem et codd. 

<• Officium is Cicero's rendering of KadTjKov, * a suitable 
act,' formally right in the circumstances, whatever the 
motive of the agent. * i.e.., KaXop. 

* So, in a later theology, faith is manifested in works. 
** Morhus is a translation of TTddos. 

• i.e., the elements. ^ See § 26. 

ACADEMICA, I. x.— xi. 

so between a right action and a sin he placed appro- 
priate action ^ and action violating propriety as things 
intermediate, classing only actions rightly done as 
goods and actions wrongly done, that is sins, as evils, 
whereas the observance or neglect of appropriate 

38 acts he deemed intermediate, as I said. And whereas 
his predecessors said that not all virtue resides in the 
reason, but that certain virtues are perfected by 
nature or by habit, he placed all the virtues in reason ; 
and whereas they thought that the kinds of virtues 
that I have stated above can be classed apart, he 
argued that this is absolutely impossible, and that 
not merely the exercise of virtue, as his predecessors 
held, but the mere state of virtue is in itself a splendid 
thing,^ although no body possesses virtue without 
continuously exercising it.^ Also whereas they did not 
remove emotion out of humanity altogether, and said 
that sorrow and desire and fear and dehght were 
natural, but curbed them and narrowed their range, 
Zeno held that the wise man was devoid of all these 

39 ' diseases ' '^ ; and whereas the older generation said 
thatthese emotions were natural andnon-rational,and 
placed desire and reason in different regions of the 
mind, he did not agree with these doctrines either, 
for he thought that even the emotions were voluntary 
and were experienced owing to a judgement of 
opinion, and he held that the mother of all the 
emotions was a sort of intemperance and lack of 
moderation. These more or less were his ethical 

XI. " His views as to the natural substances ^ were Zeno'9 
as foUows. First, in deahng with the four recognized ^^^^ 
primary elements he did not add this fifth substance ' 
which his predecessors deemed to be the source of 



ddhiberet ; statuebat enim ignem esse ipsam naturam 
quae quidque gigneret, etiam^ mentem atque sensus. 
Discrepabat etiam ab iisdem quod nullo modo 
arbitrabatur quidquam effici posse ab ea quae expers 
esset corporis, cuius generis Xenocrates et superiores 
etiam animum esse dixerant, nec vero aut quod 
efficeret aliquid aut quod efficeretur posse esse non 

40 corpus. Plurima autem in illa tertia philosophiae 
parte mutavit : in qua primum de sensibus ipsis 
quaedam dixit nova, quos iunctos esse censuit e qua- 
dam quasi impulsione oblata extrinsecus (quam ille 
(fiavTacTLav, nos visum appellemus hcet, et teneamus 
hoc quidem verbum, erit enim uteiidum in rehquo 
sermone saepius), — sed ad haec quae visa sunt et quasi 
accepta sensibus adsensionem adiungit animorum 
quam esse vult in nobis positam et voluntariam. 

41 Visis non omnibus adiungebat fidem sed iis solum quae 
propriam quandam haberent declarationem earum 
rerum quae viderentur ; id autem visum cum ipsum 
per se cerneretur, comprendibile — feretis haec ? " 
" Nos vero," inquit ; " quonam enim aho modo K-ara- 
A.7^-Toi' diceres ? " " Sed cum acceptum iam et appro- 
batum esset, comprehensionem appellabat, similem iis 
rebus quae manu prenderentur — ex quo etiara nomen 
hoc duxerat, cum eo verbo antea nemo tah in re usus 
esset, plurimisque idem novis verbis (nova enim dice- 
bat) usus est. Quod autem erat sensu comprensum, id 
ipsum sensum appellabat, et si ita erat comprensum ut 

^ Reid : et codd. 

<» i.e., a combination of external impression or presentation 
and internal assent ; but the sentcnce is internipted by a 
parenthesis. ** eudpyeia, see ii. 18 n. 

" Coniprehensio is used for comprehemium, as /vardX7;;/'ty 
was for KaTaX-qTTTiKr] (pavTaa-la. See ii. 145. 



sensation ai\(l of intellect ; for he laid it down that 
the natural substance that was the parent of all 
things, even of the senses and the mind, was itself fire. 
He also differed from the same thinkers in holding that 
an incorporeal substance, such as Xenocrates and the 
older thinkers also had pronounced the mind to be, 
of acting, or being acted upon in any way could not be 

40 incorporeal. In the third department of philosophy lie Zeno'8 
made a number of changes. Here first of all he made ^n^se-iata 
some new pronouncements about sensation itself, j-i^f^e i trua 
which he held to be a combination <» of a sort of im- cor.sHtnte 
pact offered from outside (which he called pkantasia •^nowiedsa 
and we may call a presentation, and let us retain this 

term at all events, for we shall have to employ it 
several times in the remainder of my discourse), — 
well, to these presentations received by the senses lie 
joins the act of mental assent which he makes out to 

41 reside within us and to be a voluntary act. He held 
that not all presentations are trustworthy but only 
those that have a ' manifestation,' ^ peculiar to them- 
selves, of the objects presented ; and a trustworthy 
presentation, being perceived as such by its own 
intrinsic nature, he termed ' graspable ' — will you 
endure these coinages ? " " Indeed we will," said 
Atticus," for how else couldyou express ' catalepton ' ? " 
" But after it had been received and accepted as true, 
he termed it a * grasp,'*' resembling objects gripped 
in the hand — and in fact he had derived the actual 
term from manual prehension, nobody before having 
used the Mord in such a sense, and he also used a 
number of new terms (for his doctrines were new). 
Well, a thing grasped by sensation he called itself a 
sensation, and a sensation so lirmly grasped as to be 



convelli ratione non posset, scientiam, sin aliter, in- 
scientiam nominabat, ex qua exsisteret etiam opinio, 
quae esset imbecilla et cum falso incognitoque com- 

42 munis, Sed inter scientiam et inscientiam com- 
prehensionem illam quam dixi coUocabat, eamque 
neque in rectis neque in pravis numerabat sed solum 
ei^ credendum esse dicebat. E quo sensibus etiam 
fidem tribuebat, quod, ut supra dixi, comprehensio 
facta sensibus et vera esse illi et fideHs videbatur, non 
quod omnia quae essent in re comprehenderet, sed 
quia nihil quod cadere in eam posset reUnqueret, 
quodque natura quasi normam scientiae et prin- 
cipium sui dedisset unde postea notiones rerum in 
animis imprimerentur, e quibus non principia solum 
sed latiores quaedam ad rationem inveniendam viae 
aperirentur.2 Errorem autem et temeritatem et 
iffnorantiam et opinationem et suspicionem, et uno 
nomine omnia quae essent ahena firmae et constantis 
adsensionis, a virtute sapientiaque removebat. At- 
que in his fere commutatio constitit omnis dissensio- 
que Zenonis a superioribus." 

43 XII. Quae cum dixisset, " Breviter sane minime- 
que obscure exposita est," inquam, " a te, Varro, et 
veteris Academiae ratio et Stoicorum ; verum esse 
autem arbitror, ut Antiocho nostro familiari placebat, 
correctionem veteris Academiae potius quam novam 
ahquam disciphnam putandam." Tum Varro, " Tuae 
sunt nunc partes," inquit, " qui ab antiquorum ratione 
desciscis et ea quae ab Arcesila novata sunt probas, 

1 solum ei Christ : soU codd. 

2 Davies : reperiuntur codd. 

" The Mss. give ' that it alone was credible.' 
* A translation of yvwfxuv or Kavibv, 


ACADEMICA, I. xi.— xii. 

irremovable by reasoning he termed knowledge, but a 
sensation not so grasped he termed ignorance, and 
this was the source also of opinion, an unstable impres- 

42 sion akin to falsehood and ignorance. But as a stage wisdom 
between knowledge and ignorance he placed that ^° 
* grasp ' of which I have spoken, and he reckoned it 
neither as a right nor as a wTong impression, but said 
that it was only " ' credible.* On the strength of this 
he deemed the senses also trustworthy, because, as I 
said above, he held that a grasp achieved by the 
senses was both true and trustworthy, not because 
it grasped all the properties of the thing, but 
because it let go nothing that was capable of being its 
object, and because nature had bestowed as it were a 
' measuring-rod ' ^ of knowledge and a first principle 
of itself from which subsequently notions of things 
could be impressed upon the mind, out of which not 
first principles only but certain broader roads to the 
discovery of reasoned truth were opened up. On the 
other hand error, rashness, ignorance, opinion, sus- 
picion, and in a word all the things ahen to firm and 
steady assent, Zeno set apart from virtue and wisdom. 
And it is on these points more or less that all Zeno's 
departure and disagreement from the doctrine of his 
predecessors turned." 

4.3 XII. When he had said this, I remarked : " You Cicero 
have certainly given a short and very lucid exposition piSo| ^^ 
of the theory both of the Old Academy and of the '^.',9^'_ 
Stoics ; though I think it to be true, as our friend riatonism. 
Antiochus used to hold, that the Stoic theory should 
be deemed a correction of the Old Academy rather 
than actually a new system." " It is now your role," 
rejoined Varro, " as a seceder from the theory of 
the older period and a supporter of the innovations 



docere quod et qua de causa discidium factum sit, ut 

44 videamus satisne ista sit iusta defectio." Tum ego, 
** Cum Zenone," inquam, " ut accepimus, Arcesilas 
sibi omne certamen instituit, non pertinacia aut studio 
vincendi, ut mihi quidem videtur, sed earum rerum 
obscuritate quae ad confessionem ignorationis ad- 
duxerant Socratem et iam ante Socratem Democri- 
tum, Anaxagoram, Empedoclem, omnes paene veteres, 
qui nihil cognosci, nihil percipi, nihil sciri posse dixe- 
runt, angustos sensus, imbecillos animos, brevia curri- 
cula vitae, et, ut Democritus, in profundo veritatem 
esse demersam, opinionibus et institutis omnia teneri, 
nihil veritati rehnqui, deinceps omnia tenebris circum- 

45 fusa esse dixerunt. Itaque Arcesilas negabat esse 
quidquam quod sciri posset, ne illud quidem ipsum, 
quod Socrates sibi rehquisset : sic omnia latere cense- 
bat in occulto, neque esse quidquam quod cemi aut 
intellegi posset ; quibus de causis nihil oportere neque 
profiteri neque adfirmare quemquam neque adsen- 
sione approbare, cohibereque semper et ab omni lapsu 
continere temeritatem, quae tum esset insignis cum 
aut falsa aut incognita res approbaretur, neque hoc 
quidquam esse turpius quam cognitioni et percep- 
tioni adsensionem approbationemque praecurrere. 
Huic rationi quod erat consentaneum faciebat, ut 
contra omnium sententias disserens in eam^ plerosque 
deduceret, ut cum in eadem re paria contrariis in 

^ in eam Madvig : dies iam codd. (de sua unvs). 

• iv ^vdt^ 7] dXrideia Diog. L. ix. 72. 

* We do not even know that nothing can be known : 
r/. ii. 73. 



of Arcesilas, to explain the nature and the reason of 
the rupture that took place, so as to enable us to see 

44 whether the secession \vas fully justified." " It was Deveiop- 
entirely \\ith Zeno, so we have been told," I repHed, Arc"el^iias 
" that Arcesilas set on foot his battle, not from J^titied ; 
obstinacy or desire for victory, as it seems to me at all 
events, but because of the obscurity of the facts that 

had led Socrates to a confession of ignorance, as also 
previously his predecessors Democritus, Anaxagoras, 
Empedocles, and ahnost all the old philosophers, who 
utterly denied all possibiUty of cognition or percep- 
tion or knowledge, and maintained that the senses 
are Hmited, the mind feeble, the span of hfe short, 
and that truth (in Democritus's phrase) is sunk in 
an abyss," opinion and custom are all-prevaiUng, no 
place is left for truth, all things successively are 

45 wrapped in darkness. Accordingly Arcesilas said 
that there is nothinor that can be kno\Mi, not even 
that residuum of knowledge that Socrates had left 
himself — the truth of this very dictum ^ : so hidden 
in obscurity did he beUeve that everything Ues, nor 
is there anything that can be perceived or under- 
stood, and for these reasons, he said, no one must 
make any positive statement or affirmation or give 
the approval of his assent to any proposition, and a 
man must always restrain his rashness and hold it 
back from every sUp, as it would be glaring rashness 
to give assent either to a falsehood or to something 
not certainly knowTi, and nothing is more disgrace- 
ful than for assent and approval to outstrip know- 
ledge and perception. His practice was consistent 
with this theory — he led most of his hearers to accept 
it by arguing against the opinions of aU men, so 
that when equally weighty reasons were found on 



partibus momenta rationum invenirentur, facilius ab 
46 utraque parte adsensio sustineretur. Hanc Acade- 
miam novam appellant, quae mihi vetus videtur, 
siquidem Platonem ex illa vetere numeramus, cuius in 
libris nihil adfirmatur et in utramque partem multa 
disseruntur, de omnibus quaeritur, nihil certi dicitur ; 
sed tamen illa quam exposuisti vetus, haec nova 
nominetur ; quae usque ad Carneadem perducta, qui 
quartus ab Arcesila fuit, in eadem Arcesilae ratione 
permansit. Carneades autem nullius philosophiae 
partis ignarus et, ut cognovi ex iis qui illum audierant 
maximeque ex Epicureo Zenone, qui cum ab eo pluri- 
mum dissentiret, unum tamen praeter ceteros mira- 
batur, incredibili quadam fuit facultate. ..." 

« See ii. 16. 
• The contemporary of Cicero, who heard him at Athens. 



opposite sides on the same subject, it was easier to 
46 witlihold assent from either side. They call this school i^hey were 
the Xew Academy, — to me it seems old, at all events Inhj 
if we count Plato a member of the Old Academy, in Cameades 
Mhose books nothing is stated positively and there 
is much arguing both pro and C07itra, all things are 
inquired into and no certain statement is made ; but 
nevertheless let the Academy that you expounded 
be named the Old and this one the New ; and right 
do^vn to Carneades, who was fourth ^ in succession 
from Arcesilas, it continued to remain true to the 
same theory of Arcesilas. Carneades however was 
acquainted ^^-ith every department of philosophy, and 
as I have learnt from his actual hearers. and especially 
from the Epicurean Zeno,^ who though disagree- 
ing very much with Carneades, nevertheless had an 
exceptional admiration for him, he possessed an 
incredible facility. ..." 




1. No}iius p. 65. Digladiari dictum est dissentire et 
dissidere, dictum a gladiis. Cicero Academicorum lib. I. : 
Quid autem stomachatur Mnesarchus ? quid Anti- 
pater digladiatur cum Carneade tot voluminibus ? 

2. Non. p. 43 (s.v. concinnare). Idem in Academicis 
lib. I. : Quicum similitudine verbi concinere maxime 
sibi videretur . , , 


3. Non. p. 65. Aequor ab aequo et plajio Cicero 
Academicorum lib. II. vocabulum accepisse confirmat : 
Quid tam planum videtur quam mare ? e quo etiam 
aequor illud poetae vocant. 

4. Non. p. 69- Adamare. Cicero Academicorum lib. 
II. : Qui enim serius honores adamaverunt vix ad- 
mittuntur ad eos nec satis commendati multitudini 
possunt esse. 

5. Non. p. 104. Exponere pro exempla boni osienfare. 
Cicero Academicis lib. II. : Frangere avaritiam, scelera 
ponere, vitam suam exponere ad imitandum iuventuti. 

6. Non. p. 121. Hebes positum pro obscuro aut obtuso. 

From Book I 

1. Digladiari has been used in the sense of ' to 
disagree,' ' dissent ' : it is derived from ' swords.' 
Cicero, Academica, Bk. I. : ' But why is Mnesarchus 
resentful ? Why does Antipater cross swords \vith 
Carneades in so many volumes ? * 

2. {\jndeY concinnare.) The same author in-4cG<fe/w2ca 
Bk. I. : * With whom by reason of the similarity of 
the word he seemed to himself to be completely in 
harmony . , .* 

From Book II 

S. The view that aequor is derived from aequum, 

* level,' is supported by Cicero, Academica, Book II. : 

* What seems so level as the sea ? This is actually 
the reason why the word for it in poetry is aequor.' 

4. Adamare. ' For those who have fallen in love 
■sWth office too late gain admission to it with diffi- 
culty, and cannot be enough in favour with the 

5. Exponere meaning ' to show examples of good ': 

* To crush avarice, to put away crime, to exhibit 
OJie's own hfe for the young to imitate.' 

6. Hebes, * dull,' used in the sense of ' dark,' or 



Cicero Academ. lib. II. : Quid ? lunae quae liniamenta 
sunt ? potesne dicere ? cuius et nascentis et senescen- 
tis alias hebetiora, alias acutiora videntur cornua. 

7. Non. p. 162. Purpurascit. Cicero Acad. lih. II. : 
Quid ? mare nonne caeruleum ? at eius unda cum 
est pulsa remis purpurascit, et quidem aquae tinctum 
quodam mxodo et infectum . . . 

8. Non. p. 162. Perpendicula et normae. Cicero 
Acad. lib. II. : Atqui si id crederemus, non egeremus 
perpendiculis, non normis, non regulis. 

9. Non. p. 394-. Siccuni dicitur aridum et sine humore. 
. . . Siccum dicitur et sohrium, immadidum. Cicero 
Acad. lib. II. : Alius (color) adultis, alius adules- 
centibus, alius aegris, <alius sanis>, alius siccis, alius 

10. Non. p. 474. Urinantur. Cicero in Academicis 
lib. II. : Si quando enim nos demersimus ut qui 
urinantur, aut nihil superum aut obscure admodum 

11. Non. p. 545. Alabaster. Cicero Acad. lib. II. : 
Quibus etiam alabaster plenus unguenti puter esse 


12. Non. p. 65. Digladiari . . . idem tertio : Di- 
gladiari autem semper et depugnare in facinorosis et 
audacibus quis non cum miserrimimi tum etiam stultis- 
simum dixerit ? 

13. Non. p. Q5. Exultare dictum est exilire. Cicero 
Acad. lib. III. : Et ut nos nunc sedemus ad Lucrinum 
pisciculosque exultantes videmus . . . 

14. Non. p. 123. Ingeneraretur ut innasceretur. 
Cicero Acad. lib. III. : In tanta ammantium varietate 

ACADEMICA, fragments, edition 2 

else ' blunt ' : ' Well, what are the outUnes of the 
moon ? Can you say ? The horns of the moon 
both when rising and setting sometimes seem duller, 
sometimes sharper.' 

7. Purpurascit. ' What, is not the sea blue ? But 
when its water is struck by oars it purples, and indeed 
a sort of dye and stain having come to the water's . . ,' 

8. Perpendicula and normae. * Yet if we beUeved 
that, we should not require plumbUnes or rods or 

9. 'S/ccwmmeans ■ driedup/ devoidof moisture. . . . 
Siccum also means * sober,' not a soaker. ' We 
notice a different complexion in grown-up people and 
the young, in invalids and the healthy, in the dry and 
in ^^ine-bibbers.' 

10. Urinantur. * For whenever we stoop hke men 
making water, we see nothing above us or only quite 

11. Alabaster. ' People who think even a scent- 
bottle full of perfume a stinking thing.* 

From Book III 

12. Digladiari. . . . Cicero also writes in Book III. l 
* But to be always crossing swords and fighting to 
the end among criminals and desperadoes — who 
would not call this a most pitiable and also a most 
foohsh occupation ? ' 

13. Exultare means * to jump out.' ' And just as 
we are now sitting by the Lucrine Lake and see the 
httle fishes jumping out of the water . . .' 

14. Ingeneraretur in the sense of ' might be born 
in.' * That in man alone among all this variety of 



homini ut soli cupiditas ingeneraretur cognitionis et 

15. Xon. p. 419. Findicare, trahere, liherare. . . . 
Cicero Acad. lih. III. : Aliqua potestas sit, vindicet se 
in libertatem. 

16. Lactant. Inst. vi. 24. Cicero . . . cuius kaec in 
Academico tertio verba sunt : Quod si liceret, ut iis 
qui in itinere deerra\-issent, sic vitam deviam secutis 
corrigere errorem paenitendo, facilior esset emendatio 

17. Diomedes p. 377 ed. Keil. Varro ad Ciceronem 
tertio fixum et Cicero Academicorum tertio malcho in 
opera adfixa. 


18. Laciant. Inst. iii. 14. Haec tua verba sunt 
(Cicero) : Mihi autem non modo ad sapientiam caeci 
videmur sed ad ea ipsa quae aliqua ex parte cerni 
videantur hebetes et obtusi. 

19- Augustin. c. Academicos ii. 26 TaUa, inquit 
Academicus, mihi videntur omnia quae probabiha vel 
veri simiha putavi nominanda ; quae tu si aho nomine 
vis vocare, nihil repugno, satis enim mihi est te iam 
bene accepisse quid dicam, id est, quibus rebus haec 
nomina imponam : non enim vocabulorum opificem 
sed rerum inquisitorem decet esse sapientem. 

20. August. c. Acad. iii. 15 sq. Est in libris Ciceronis 
quos in huius causae patrocinium scripsit locus quidam, 
ut mihi videtur, mira urbanitate coiiditus, ut non nullis 

" Malleo, Reid's conjecture for the unknown word malcho 
ot the MS8. 

ACADEMICA, fragments, editiox 2 

living creatiires might be born a desire for learning 
and knowledge.' 

15. Jlndicare * to draw,' ' to set free.' ' Let him 
show some capacity, let him champion himself into 

16. Cicero . . . who in his third Academic volume 
has these words : ' Whereas if those who have pur- 
sued a devious path in hfe were allowed, hke travellers 
Mho had wandered from the road, to remedy their 
mistake by repenting, the correction of recklessness 
would be easier.' 

17. Varro in his third book dedicated to Cicero uses 
Jiinm, and Cicero in Academica, Book III. * adfixed on 

the work \vith a hammer.' ^ 

Fragments of uncertain Context 

18. These are your own words, (Cicero) : * To me 
however we seem not only bhnd to wisdom but dull 
and blunted even towards things that are in some 
measure visible.* 

19- ' Such,' says the Academic speaker, ' seem to 
me to be all the things that I have thought fit to 
entitle " probable " or possessed of verisimihtude ; 
if you want to call them by another name I make no 
objection, for it satisfies me that you have ah-eady 
well grasped my meaning, that is, the things to which 
I assign these names : since it becomes the wise man 
to be not a manufacturer of w^ords but a researcher 
into things.' 

20. The books of Cicero that he wrote to champion 
this cause contain a certain passage that seems to me 
to have a remarkably witty flavour, while some people 



autem, etiam firmitate roboraius. Difficile est prorsus ut 
quemquam non moveat quod ibi dictum est, Academico 
sapienti ab omnibus ceterarum sectarum qui sibi 
sapientes videntur secundas partes dari, cum primas 
sibi quemque vindicare necesse sit ; ex quo posse 
probabiliter confici eum recte primum esse suo iudicio 
qui omnium ceterorum iudicio sit secundus. 

21. August. c. Acad. iii. 20. 43 Ait enim (Cicero) 
illis morem fuisse occultandi sententiam suam nec 
eam cuiquam nisi qui secum ad senectutem usque 
vixissent aperire consuesse. 

22. August. de civ. Dei vi. 2 Denique et ipse Tullius 
huic (M. Varroni) tale testimonium perhibet ut in libris 
Academicis dicat eam quae ibi versatur disputationem se 
habuisse cum M. Varrone, homine, inquit, omnium 
facile acutissimo et sine ulla dubitatione doctissimo. 


ACADEMICA, fragmfats, edition 2 

think it actiially a powerful and strong piece of -v^Titing. 
Indeed it is hard to see how anybody could fail to 
be impressed by what is said there, that ' the Wise 
Man of the Academy is given the second role by all 
the adherents of the other schools that seem wise 
in their own eyes, though of course they each claim 
the first part for themselves ; and that from this the 
probable inference may be drawn that, since he is 
second by everybody else's verdict, his own verdict is 
right in placing him first.' 

[There follows a page of imaginary dialogue be- 
tween Zeno, Epicurus and an Academic, which some 
editors print as a verbatim quotation from Cicero ; 
but the style makes this unhkely, and it is not intro- 
duced as a quotation, as is the passage above.] 

21. For he (Cicero) says that they ' had a habit of 
conceahng their opinion, and did not usually disclose 
it to anybody except those that had hved with them 
right up to old age.' 

22. Finally Tully himself also bears such witness 
to this man (Marcus Varro) as to say in Academica that 
the discussion there set out took place between him- 
self and Marcus Varro, ' a person who was easily the 
most penetrating of all men, and without any doubt 
extremely learned.' 



(editio prior) 

1 1. Magnum mgenium L. Luculli magnumque opti- 
marum artium studium, tum omnis liberalis et digna 
liomine nobili ab eo percepta doctrina, quibus tem- 
poribus florere in foro maxime potuit caruit omnino 
rebus urbanis. Ut enim admodum adulescens cum 
fratre pari pietate et industria praedito paternas 
inimicitias magna cum gloria est persecutus, in Asiam 
quaestor profectus ibi permultos annos admirabili 
quadam laude provinciae praefuit ; deinde absens 
factus aedilis, continuo praetor (licebat enim celerius 
legis praemio), post in Africam, inde ad consulatum, 
quem ita gessit ut diligentiam admirarentur omnes, 
ingenium agnoscerent. Post ad Mithridaticum bel- 
lum missus a senatu non modo opinionem vicit 
omnium quae de virtute eius erat sed etiam gloriam 

2 superiorum ; idque eo fuit mirabilius quod ab eo laus 

" This Book belongs to the first edition of the work (in 
which it was dedicated to Lucullus and entitled by his 
name), and it is therefore designated Academica Priora by 
some editors. 

^ The elder Lucullus had been tried and found guilty of 
misconduct when commanding in the slave-war in Sicilj-, 
103 B.c. His sons (in accordance with the Roman sentiment 
of filial duty) did their best to ruin his prosecutor Servilius. 

* Probably Sulla, when re-enacting the old lex annalis by 
his lex de magistratibus, inserted a clause exempting his own 
oflBcers as a special privilege, to reward their services. 



1 L The great talents of Lucius Lucullus and his intro- 
great devotion to the best sciences, with all his ac- lucuSus 
quisitions in that hberal learning which becomes a the schoiar- 
person of high station, were entirely cut off from 

pubUc hfe at Rome in the period when he might have 
won the greatest distinction at the bar. For when 
as quite a youth, in co-operation with a brother 
possessed of equal fihal affection and devotion, he 
had carried on with great distinction the personal 
feuds of his father,^ he went out as quaestor to Asia, 
and there for a great many years presided over the 
pro\ince \Wth quite remarkable credit ; then in his 
absence he was elected aedile, and next praetor (since 
by a statutory grant ^ this was permitted before the 
usual time) ; later he was appointed to Africa, and 
then to the consulship, which he so administered 
as to win universal admiration for his devotion to 
duty and universal recognition of his abihty. Later 
the senate commissioned him to the war with Mithri- 
dates,^ in which he not only surpassed everybody's 
previous estimation of his valour but even the glory 

2 of his predecessors ; and this was the more remark- 

^ The third Mithridatic War, beginning 74 b.c, when 
LucuUus was consul. 



imperatoria non adniodum exspectabatur qui adules- 
centiam in forensi opera, quaesturae diuturnimi 
tempus Murena bellum in Ponto gerente in Asia pace 
consumpserat. Sed incredibilis quaedam ingenii 
magnitudo non desideravit indocilem usus disciplinam, 
Itaque cum totum iter et navigationem consumpsisset 
partim in percontando a peritis, partim in rebus gestis 
legendis, in Asiam factus imperator venit, cum esset 
Roma profectus rei militaris rudis. Habuit enim 
divinam quandam memoriam rerum, verborum ma- 
iorem Hortensius, sed quo pius in negotiis gerendis res 
quam verba prosunt, hoc erat memoria illa prae- 
stantior ; quam fuisse in Themistocle, quem facile 
Graeciae principem ponimus, singularem ferunt, qui 
quidem etiam pollicenti cuidam se artem ei memoriae 
quae tum primumproferebaturtraditurum respondisse 
dicitur obHvisci se malle discere — credo quod haere- 
bant in memoria quaecumque audierat et viderat. 
Tah ingenio praeditus Lucullus adiunxerat etiam 
illam quam Themistocles spreverat discipHnam, 
itaque, ut htteris consignamus quae monumentis 
mandare volumus, sic ille in animo res insculptas 
S habebat. Tantus ergo imperator in omni genere belli 
fuit, proehis, oppugnationibus, navahbus pugnis, 
totiusque belU instrumento et adparatu, ut ille rex 
post Alexandrum maxumus hunc a se maiorem ducem 
cognitum quam quemquam eorum quos legisset 

" The second Mithridatic War, 83-82 b.c. 

^ i.e., the training provided by experience and not by 

" The lyric poet Simonides of Ceos (556-467 b.c), the 
inventor of the system. 

" Mil^hridates the Great (120-63 b.c), king of Pontus. 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), i. 

able because military distinction was not particularly 
anticipated from one who had spent his youth in 
practice at the bar, and the long period of his quaestor- 
ship peacefully in Asia, \vhile ^lurena was carrying 
on the war in Pontus." But intellectual gifts that 
even surpassed belief had no need of the unschooled 
training that is given by experience.^ Accordingly 
after spending the whole of his journeyby land and sea 
pai'tly in cross-questioning those who were experts 
and partly in reading military history, he arrived in 
Asia a made general, although he had started from 
Rome a tiro in military matters. For he had a memory 
for facts that was positively inspired, although Hor- 
tensius had a better memory for words, but Lucullus's 
memory was the more valuable, inasmuch as in the 
conduct of business facts are of more assistance than 
words ; and this form of memory is recorded as having 
been present in a remarkable degree in Themistocles, 
whom we rank as easily the greatest man of Greece, 
and of whom the story is told that when somebody ^ 
offered to impart to him the meinoria tech?iica that was 
then first coming into vogue, he replied that he 
would sooner learn to forget — no doubt this was be- 
cause whatever he heard or saw remained fixed in his 
memory. Gifted with such natural endowments, 
Lucullus had also added the training which Themi- 
stocles had despised, and thus he kept facts engraved 
on his mind just as we enshrine in writing things 
3 that we desire to record. Consequently he was so 
great a commander in every class of warfare, battles, 
sieges, sea-fights, and in the entire field of military 
equipment and commissariat, that the greatest king <* 
since the time of Alexander admitted that he had 
discovered Lucullus to be a greater general than any 



fateretur. In eodem tanta prudentia fuit in constitu- 
endis temperandisque civitatibus, tanta aequitas, ut 
hodie stet Asia Luculli institutis servandis et quasi 
vestigiis persequendis. Sed etsi magna cum utilitate 
rei publicae, tamen diutius quam vellem tanta vis 
virtutis atque ingeni peregrinata afuit ab oculis et 
fori et curiae. Quin etiam cum victor a Mithridatico 
bello revertisset, inimicorum calumnia triennio tar- 
dius quam debuerat triumpha\dt ; nos enim consules 
introduximus paene in urbem currum clarissimi viri ; 
cuius mihi consilium et auctoritas quid tum in 
maximis rebus profuissent^ dicerem nisi de me ipso 
dicendum esset, quod hoc tempore non est necesse ; 
itaque privabo potius illum debito testimonio quam 
id cum mea laude communicem. 
4 II. Sed quae populari gloria decorari in LucuUo 
debueruntj ea fere sunt et Graecis Utteris celebrata 
et Latinis. Nos autem illa externa cum multis, haec 
interiora cum paucis ex ipso saepe cognovimus ; 
maiore enim studio Lucullus cum omni htterarum 
generi tum philosophiae deditus fuit quam qui illum 
ignorabant arbitrabantur, nec vero ineunte aetate 
solum sed et pro quaestore aUquot annos et in ipso 
bello, in quo ita magna rei miUtaris esse occupatio 
solet ut non multum imperatori sub ipsis pelHbus 
otii rehnquatur. Cum autem e philosophis ingenio 

* profuhs,rA codd. ffire omnes. 

• At the end of 67 b.c. 

^ Cicero is doubtless thinkin^ cliiefly of the suppression 
of thc revolutionary conspiracy led by Catihne. 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), i.— ii. 

ol" those that he had read of. He also possessed so 
miich wisdom and justice in the work of estabhshing 
and reforminggovernments that Asia to-day continues 
to observe the institutions and follow in the footsteps 
of Lucullus. But although greatly to the advantage 
of the state, nevertheless those vast powers of char- 
acter and of intellect were absent abroad, out of the 
sight of both the law-courts and the senate, for a 
longer time than I could have wished. Moreover 
when he returned " victorious from the Mithridatic 
War, the chicanery of his enemies postponed his 
triumph three years later than it ought to have taken 
place ; for it was I as consul who virtually led into 
the city the chariot of this glorious hero, of the value 
to me of whose advice and influence at that period in 
the most important affairs ^ I might speak if it did 
not involve speaking about myself, which at this time 
is not necessary ; and so I will rob him of the tribute 
due to him r.-ther than combine it with my own praise. 
4 II. However, the things in LucuUus^s career that 
deserved the honour of a national celebration have 
fairly well won their tribute of fame in both Greek 
and Latin records. But my knowledge of these facts 
about his pubhc life I share with many persons ; the 
following more private details I have often learnt 
from himself in company with few others — for 
Lucullus was more ardently devoted both to letters 
of all sorts and to philosophy than persons who did 
not know him supposed, and indeed not only at an 
early age but also for some years during his pro- 
quaestorship, and even on active service, when 
miHtary duties are usually so engrossing as to leave 
a commander not much leisure when actually under 
canvas. But as Philo's pupil Antiochus was deemed 



scientiaque putaretur Antiochus Philonis auditor 
excellere, eum secum et quaestor habuit et post 
aliquot annos imperator, quique esset ea memoria 
quam ante dixi, ea saepe audiendo facile cogno^it 
quae vel semel audita meminisse potuisset. Delecta- 
batur autem miritice lectione librorum de quibus 

6 Ac vereor interdum ne talium personarum cum 
amplificare veUm minuam etiam gloriam. Sunt enim 
multi qui omnino Graecas non ament litteras, plures 
qui philosophiam ; rehqui- etiam si haec non impro- 
bant,^ tamen earum rerum disputationem principibus 
civitatis non ita decoram putant.* Ego autem cum 
Graecas htteras M. Catonem in senectute didicisse 
acceperim, P. autem Africani historiae loquantur 
in legatione illa nobiU quam ante censuram obiit 
Panaetium unum omnino comitem fuisse, nec httera- 
rum Graecarum nec philosophiae iam ullum auctorem 

6 requiro. Restat ut iis respondeam qui sermonibus 
eius modi noUnt personas tam graves inhgari. Quasi 
vero clarorum virorum aut tacitos congressus esse 
oporteat aut ludicros sermones aut rerum conloquia 
leviorum ! Etenim si quodam in Hbro vere est a nobis 
philosophia laudata, profecto eius tractatio optimo 
atque ampUssimo quoque dignissima est, nec quid- 

* audierat Ernefiti. ^ reliqiii qui codd. multi. 

2 ed. : improbent codd. 

* •pnXjeJit codd. fere omnes. 

" To the kings of Egypt and Asia in alliance with Rome, 
144 B.c. Scipio Africanus Minor was censor 143 b.c. 

^ Cicero's Hortensius. 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), ii. 

the cliief among philosopliers for intellcet and learn- 
ino;, he kept him in his company both when qiiaestor 
and when a few years later he became general, and 
having the powerful memory that I have spoken of 
ah-eady he easily learnt from frequent repetition 
doctrines that he would have been quite capable of 
learning froni a single hearing. Moreover, he took 
a marvellous dehght in reading the books about 
which Antiochus used to discourse to him. 

6 And I am sometimes afraid lest in regard to men 
of this character my desire to magnify their fame 
may actually diminish it. For there are many people 
wlio have no love for Greek hterature at all, and more 
who have none for philosophy ; while the residue 
even if they do not disapprove of these studies never- 
theless think that the discussion of such topics is 
not specially becoming for great statesmen. But for 
my own part, as I have been told that Marcus Cato 
learnt Greek Uterature in his old age, while history 
states that Pubhus Africanus, on the famous embassy " 
on which he went before his censorship, had Panaetius 
as absolutely the sole member of his staff, I need 
not look any further for someone to support the 
claims either of Greek hterature or of philosophy. 

6 It remains for me to reply to the critics who are Combina. 
unwilhng to have pubhc characters of such dignity study and 
entangled in conversations of this nature. As if for- ?5'^'r ^^ 
sooth persons of distinction ought to hold their meet- iradition 
ings in silence, or else engage in frivolous conversa- [-fg^^'"*" 
tion or discussion on hghter topics ! In fact, if there 
is truth in the praise of philosophy that occupies a 
certain volume ^ of mine, it is obvious that its pursuit 
is supremely worthy of all persons of the highcst 
character and eminence, and the only precaution that 



quam aliud videndum est nobis quos populus Romanus 
hoc in gradu conlocavit nisi ne quid privatis studiis 
de opera publica detrahamus. Quodsi cum fungi 
munere debebamus non modo operam nostram num- 
quam a populari coetu removimus sed ne Utteram 
quidem ullam fecimus nisi forensem, quis reprendet 
otium nostrum, qui in eo non modo nosmet ipsos 
hebescere et languere nolumus sed etiam ut plurimis 
prosimus enitimur ? Gloriam vero non modo non 
minui sed etiam augeri arbitramur eorum quorum 
ad popularis inlustrisque laudes has etiam minus 
7 notas minusque pervolgatas adiungimus. Sunt etiam 
qui negent in iis qui in nostris Ubris disputent fuisse 
earum rerum de quibus disputatur scientiam : qui 
mihi videntur non solum vivis sed etiam mortuis 

III. Restat unum genus reprehensorum quibus 
Academiae ratio non probatur. Quod gravius ferre- 
mus si quisquam ullam discipUnam philosophiae pro- 
baret praeter eam quam ipse sequeretur. Nos autem 
quoniam contra omnes dicere quae^ videntur solemus, 
non possumus quin aUi a nobis dissentiant recusare : 
quamquam nostra quidem causa faciUs est, qui verum 
invenire sine uUa contentione volumus idque summa 
cura studioque conquirimus. Etsi enim omnis cog- 
nitio multis est obstructa difficultatibus, eaque est et 
in ipsis rebus obscuritas et in iudiciis nostris infirmitas 

^ dicere quae Reid : qui dicere quae codd., qui scire sibi 

" ?*.<?., the dramatis personae of the dialoprues that foUow, 
" C'f. 'preach Christ of contention,' Philippians i. 16, 

and Hebrews i. 3, Thesanlonians ii. 2. 


ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), ii.— iii. 

need be observed by us whom the Roman nation has 
j^laced in this rank is to prevent our private studies 
tVom encroaching at all upon our pubhc interest. 
But if at the time when we had official duties to 
perform we not only never removed our interest 
from the national assembly but never even put pen 
to paper save on matters of pubhc business, who 
will criticize our leisure, if therein we not only are 
reluctant to allow ourselves to grow dull and slack 
but also strive to be of service to the greatest number 
of men ? At the same time in our judgement we are 
not merely not diminishing but actually increasing 
the fame of those persons " to whose pubhc and dis- 
tinguished glories we also append these less known 
7 and less well advertised claims to distinction. There 
are also people who declare that the personages who 
debate in our books did not really possess a know- 
ledge of the subjects debated ; but these critics to 
my eye appear to be jealous of the dead as well as of 
the living. 

III. There remains one class of adverse critics who xhe 
do not approve the Academic system of philosophy. nhUosophy 
This would trouble us more if anybody approved any :efended 
set of doctrines except the one of which he himself iio|Satism. 
was a follower. But for our part, since it is our 
habit to put forward our views in conflict with all 
schools, we cannot refuse to allow others to differ from 
us ; although we at all events have an easy brief to 
argue, who desire to discover the truth without any 
contention,^ and who pursue it ^\ith the fuUest dih- 
gence and devotion. For even though many diffi- 
culties hinder every branch of knowledge, and both 
the subjects themselves and our faculties of judge- 
ment involve such a lack of certainty that the most 



ut non sine causa antiquissimi et doctissimi invenire 
se posse quod cuperent diffisi sint, tamen nec illi 
defecerunt neque nos studium exquirendi defatigati 
relinquemus ; neque nostrae disputationes quidquam 
aliud agunt nisi ut in utramque partem dicendo 
eliciant et tamquam exprimant aliquid quod aut 

8 verum sit aut ad id quam proxime accedat. Nec 
inter nos et eos qui se scire arbitrantur quidquam 
interest nisi quod illi non dubitant quin ea vera sint 
quae defendunt, nos probabilia multa habemus, quae 
sequi facile, adfirmare vix possumus ; hoc autem 
liberiores et solutiores sumus quod integra nobis est 
iudicandi potestas nec ut omnia quae praescripta a 
quibusdam et quasi imperata sint defendamus neces- 
sitate uUa cogimur. Nam ceteri primum ante tenentur 
adstricti quam quid esset optimum iudicare potue- 
runt, deinde infirmissimo tempore aetatis aut ob- 
secuti amico cuipiam aut una alicuius quem primum 
audierunt oratione capti de rebus incognitis iudicant, 
et ad quamcumque sunt disciplinam quasi tempestate 
delati ad eam tamquam ad saxum adhaerescunt. 

9 Nam quod dicunt omnino se credere ei quem iudicent 
fuisse sapientem,probarem si id ipsumrudes et indocti 
iudicare potuissent (statuere enim qui sit sapiens vel 
maxime videtur esse sapientis) ; sed, ut potuerint,^ 
potuerunt omnibus rebus auditis, cognitis etiam re- 

^ potuerint inseruit Lambinus. 

" Exprimant, a metaphor from sculpture ; no doubt the 
word properly denotcd the preUminary model in clay. 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), iii. 

ancient and learned thinkers liad good reason for 
distrusting tlieir ability to discover what they desired, 
nevertheless they did not give up, nor yet will we 
abandon in exhaustion our zeal for research ; and 
the sole object of our discussions is by arguing on 
both sides to draw out and give shape to^* some result 
that may be eitlier true or the nearest possible ap- 

8 proximation to the truth. Nor is there any difference 
between ourselves and those who think that they 
have positive knowledge except that they have no 
doubt that their tenets are true, whereas we hold 
many doctrines as probable, which we can easily act 
upon but can scarcely advance as certain ; yet we are 
more free and untrammeiled in that we possess our 
power of judgement uncurtailed, and are bound by 
no compulsion to support all the dogmas laid down 
for us ahnost as edicts by certain masters. For all 
other people in the first place are held in close bond- 
age placed upon them before they were able to judge 
what doctrine was the best, and secondly they form 
judgements about matters as to which they know 
nothing at the most incompetent period of hfe, either 
under the guidance of some friend or under the in- 
fluence of a single harangue from the first lecturer 
that they attended, and chng as to a rock to wliatever 

9 theory they are carried to by stress of weather. For 
as to their assertion that the teacher whom they judge 
to have been a wise man commands their absolute 
trust, I would agree to this if to make that judgement 
could actually have lain within the power of un- 
learned no\ices (for to decide who is a wise man 
seems to be a task that specially requires a wise man 
to undertake it) ; but granting that it lay within 
their power, it was only possible for them after hear- 



liquorum sententiis, iudicaverunt autem re seme] 
audita atque^ ad unius se auctoritatem contulerunt. 
Sed nescio quo modo plerique errare malunt eamque 
sententiam quam adamaverunt pugnacissime defen- 
dere quam sine pertinacia quid constantissime dicatur 

Quibus de rebus et alias saepe nobis multa quae- 
sita et disputata sunt et quondam in Hortensii villa 
quae est ad Baulos, cum eo Catulus et Lucullus 
nosque ipsi postridie venissemus quam apud Catulum 
fuissemus. Quo quidem etiam maturius venimus 
quod erat constitutum, si ventus esset, Lucullo in 
Neapolitanum, mihi in Pompeianum navigare. Cum 
igitur pauca in xysto locuti essemus, tum eodem in 
spatio consedimus. 
10 IV. Hic Catulus, " Etsi heri," inquit, " id quod 
quaerebatur paene explicatum est, ut tota fere 
quaestio tractata videatur, tamen exspecto ea quae 
te polhcitus es, Luculle, ab Antiocho audita dicturum. " 
" Equidem," inquit Hortensius, " feci plus quam 
vellem, totam enim rem Lucullo integram servatam 
oportuit. Et tamen fortasse servata est ; a me enim 
ea quae in promptu erant dicta sunt, a Lucullo autem 
reconditiora desidero." Tum ille," Non sane," inquit, 
** Hortensi, conturbat me exspectatio tua, etsi nihil 

^ atque inseruit Lamhinus. 

" i.e.^ the colonnade or xystus in which they had been 


ACADEMICA, II. (Luclillus). iii.— iv. 

ing all the facts and ascertaining the views of nll 
the other schools as well, whereas they gave their 
verdict after a single hearing of the case, and enrolled 
themselves under the authority of a single master. 
But somehow or other most men prefer to go wrong, 
and to defend tooth and nail the system for which 
they have come to feel an affection, rather than to 
lay aside obstinacy and seek for the doctrine that is 
most consistent. 

Beside many other occasions on which we have Drarmti» 
engaged in long mvestigations and discussions oi 
these subjects, there was one at Hortensius's country- 
house at Bauh, Catulus, Lucullus and we ourselves 
having come there on the day after we had been at 
Catulus's. We had in fact arrived there early 
because Lucullus had the intention of saiUng to his 
place at Naples and I to mine at Pompei, if there was 
a ^^ind. So after a Uttle talk in the colonnade, we 
then sat down on a seat in the same w alk." 
10 IV. Here Catulus said, " It is true that our inquiry lucuHus, 
of yesterday was almost fully cleared up, so that J^^J ^^^^^'^® 
nearly the whole of the subject now appears to have Antiocbus, 
been handled ; but nevertheless I am waiting with poSk^"^ 
interest for you, Lucullus, to fulfil your promise of 'T;gainst 
teUing us the doctrines that you heard from Anti- (§§To-62). 
ochus." " For my part," said Hortensius, " I coukl 
wish that I had not gone so far, for the whole subject 
ought to have been reserved in its entirety for 
LucuUus. And yet perhaps it has been reserved, 
for it was the more obvious points that were ex- 
pounded by me, whcreas I look to LucuUus to give 
us the more abstruse doctrines." " Your expectancy, 
Hortensius," rejoined LucuUus, " does not, it is true, 
upset me, although there is nothing that so much 
R 477 


est iis qui placere volunt tam adversarium. sed quia 
non laboro quam valde ea quae dico probaturus sim, 
eo minus conturbor ; dicam enim nec mea nec ea 
in quibus, si non fuerint, non vinci me malim quam 
\incere. Sed mehercule, ut quidem nunc se causa 
habet, etsi hesterno sermone labefactata est, mihi 
tamen videtur esse verissima. Agam igitur sicut 
Antiochus agebat (nota enim mihi res est, nam et 
vacuo animo illum audiebam et magno studio, eadem 
de re etiam saepius), ut etiam maiorem exspecta- 
tionem raei faciam quam modo fecit Hortensius." 
11 Cum ita esset exorsus, ad audiendum animos erexi- 
mus ; at ille " Cum Alexandriae pro quaestore " in- 
quit " essem, fuit Antiochus mecum, et erat iam antea 
Alexandriae famiharis Antiochi Heraclitus Tyrius, 
qui et Clitomachum multos annos et Philonem 
audierat, homo sane in ista philosophia, quae nunc 
prope dimissa revocatur, probatus et nobilis ; cum 
quo Antiochum saepe disputantem audiebam, sed 
utrumque leniter. Et quidem isti hbri duo Philonis, 
de quibus heri dictum a Catulo est, tum erant adlati 
Alexandriam tumque primum in Antiochi manus 
venerant : et homo natura lenissimus (nihil enim 
poterat fieri illo mitius) stomachari tamen coepit. 
Mirabar, nec enim umquam ante videram ; at ille 

" Lucullus was sent by Sulla to Alexandria, 87-86 b.c, 
to try to raise a fleet. 
* i.e.t by Cicero. 


ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), iv. 

handicaps people desirous of winning approval, but 
I am less upset bccause I do not mind how far I am 
successful in gaining assent for the views that I ex- 
pound ; for the doctrines that I am going to state are 
not my own, nor are they ones about which, if they 
are unsound, I should not wish rather to be refuted 
than to carry the day. But I protest that even 
though my case was shaken by yesterday's discus- 
sion, it nevertheless appears to me to be profoundly 
true — at least as it stands at present. I will there- 
fore adopt what used to be the procedure of Antiochus 
(for I am famihar with the subject, since I used to 
hear him with undistracted attention and with great 
interest, even more than once on the same topic), 
so as to cause even more to be expected of me than 
11 Hortensius did just now." On his beginning in this 
strain we aroused our attention to hsten to him ; 
whereupon he proceeded : " When I was deputy- 
quaestor at Alexandria,'* Antiochus was in my com- 
pany, and Antiochus's friend, the Tyrian Herachtus, 
was at Alexandria already ; he had been for many 
years a pupil of both Chtomachus and Philo, and was 
undoubtedly a person of standing and distinction in 
the school of philosophy in question, which after 
having been almost abandoned is now being revived ^ ; 
I often used to hear Antiochus arguing with Hera- 
chtus, both however in a gentle manner. And in- 
deed those two volumes of Philo mentioned yester- 
day by Catulus had then reached Alexandria and 
had then for the first time come into Antiochus's 
hands ; whereupon though by nature one of the 
gentlest of people (in fact nothing could have been 
kinder than he was) he nevertheless began to lose 
his temper. This surprised me, as I had never seen 



Heracliti memoriam implorans quaerere ex eo vide- 
renturne illa Philonis aut ea num vel e Philone vel 
ex ullo Academico audivisset aliquando. Negabat ; 
Philonis tamen scriptum agnoscebat, nec id quidem 
dubitari poterat, nam aderant mei famihares, docti 
homines, P. et C. SeUi et Tetrilius Rogus qui se illa 
audiiisse Romae de Philone et ab eo ipso illos duos 
12 hbros dicerent descripsisse. Tum et illa dixit An- 
tiochus quae heri Catulus commemoravit a patre suo 
dicta Philoni^ et aha plura, nec se tenuit quin contra 
suum doctorem hbrum etiam ederet qui Sosus in- 
scribitur. Tum igitur cum et Herachtum studiose 
audirem contra Antiochum disserentem et item 
Antiochum contra Academicos, dedi Antiocho operam 
dihgentius, ut causam ex eo totam cognoscerem. 
Itaque complures dies adhibito Herachto doctis- 
que compluribus et in iis Antiochi fratre Aristo et 
praeterea Aristone et Dione, quibus ille secundum 
fratrem plurimum tribuebat, multum temporis in 
ista una disputatione consumpsimus. Sed ea pars 
quae contra Philonem erat praetermittenda est, 
minus enim acer est adversarius is qui ista quae sunt 
heri defensa negat Academicos omnino dicere ; etsi 

1 [Philoni] ? Reid. 

• i.e., the New Academy, as § 12 fin. 

• These persons are otherwise unknown. 

' i.e.t at the beginning of the lost Book I. of the first 
edition of Academica ; in the second edition the topic was 
traiisferred to Cicero and occupied the lost Book II. 

<* Sosus, hke Antiochus a native of Ascalon, seems to have 
gone over from the Academy to Stoicism. 

• t.e., when a copy is made, that is the name written on it. 
' See i. 12 n. 

» i.e.y by Catulus, in the lost Book I. of the first edition, 


ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), iv. 

him do so before ; but he kept appealing to Hera- 
ciitus's recollection and aslving him whether he 
rcally thought that those doctrines were Philo's, or 
whether he had ever heard them either from Philo 
or from any member of the Academy." Herachtus 
always answered No ; but still he recognized it as a 
work of Philo's, and indeed this could not be doubted, 
for my learned friends Publius and Gaius Sehus and 
Tetrilius Rogus ^ were there to say that they had 
heard these doctrines from Philo at Rome and had 
copied down the two books in question from Philo's 
12 own manuscript. Then Antiochus put forward the 
views that yesterday Catulus told us *= had been put 
forward in regard to Philo by his father, and also a 
number of others, and did not restrain himself even 
from publishing a book against his o^vn teacher,^ 
the book to which is given^ the title of Sosus. 
On this occasion therefore when I heard both Hera- 
chtus earnestly arguing against Antiochus and also 
Antiochus against the Academics, I gave my atten- 
tion more closely to Antiochus, in order to learn 
from him his whole case. Accordingly when we had 
for quite a number of days had Heraclitus \Wth us 
and quite a number of other learned men, among 
them Antiochus's brother Aristus,^ and also Aristo 
and Dio, to whom he used to assign the greatest 
authority next to his brother, we spent a great deal 
of time in this single discussion. But we must pass 
over the part of it that was directed against Philo, 
for he is a less keen opponent who declares that those 
doctrines maintained yesterday ^ are not the doctrines 
of the Academy at all ; for though what he says is 

which bore his name; the subject was given to Cicero in the 
lost Book n. of the second edition (see p. 406). 



enim mentitur, tamen est adversarius lenior. Ad 
Arcesilan Carneademque veniamus." 

13 V. Quae cum dixisset, sic rursus exorsus est : " Pri- 
mum mihi videmini " — me autem [nomine]^ appellabat 
— " cum veteres physicos nominatis, facere idem quod 
seditiosi cives solent cum aliquos ex antiquis claros 
viros proferunt quos dicant fuisse populares ut eorum 
ipsi similes esse videantur. Repetunt enim a^ P. 
Valerio qui exactis regibus primo anno consul fuit, 
coDomemorant reliquos qui leges populares de pro- 
vocationibus tulerint cum consules essent ; tum ad hos 
notiores, C. Flaminium qui legem agrariam aliquot 
annis ante secundum Punicum bellum tribunus plebis 
tulerit invito senatu et postea bis consul factus sit, 
L. Cassium, Q. Pompeiimi ; illi quidem etiam P. 
Africanima referre in eundem numerum solent. Duos 
vero sapientissimos et clarissimos fratres P. Crassum 
et P. Scaevolam aiunt Ti. Graccho auctores legum 
fuisse, alterum quidem (ut videmus) palam, alterum 
(ut suspicantur) obscurius. Addunt etiam C. Marium, 
et de hoc quidem nihil mentiuntur. Horum nomini- 
bus tot virorum atque tantorum expositis eorum se 

14 institutum sequi dicunt. SimiUter vos, cum pertur- 
bare ut illi rem pubhcam sic vos philosophiam bene 
iam constitutam veUtis, Empedoclen, Anaxagoran, 
Democritum, Parmeniden, Xenophanem, Platonem 

^ [nomine] ed. 
" enim a Reid : iam aut iam a codd. 


ACADKMICA, II. (Lucullus), iv.— v. 

not true, he is a mildcr adversary. Let us come to 
Arcesilas and Carneades." 

13 V. \Vhen he had said this he started again as (i) xhe New 
follows : " In the first place I feel that you ^entle- Academy 

»> . 11 n 1 . perverts 

men — it was to me that he was actually speakmg, historyithe 

— " when you cite the names of the old natural ^vTre^"*^ 

philosophers, are doing just what citizens raising a dogmatic, 

sedition usually do, when they quote some famous 

personages of antiquity as having been of the people's 

party, so as to makc themselves appear to rescmble 

them. For they go back to Publius Valerius who 

was consul in the first year after the expulsion of 509B.a 

the kings, and they quote all the other persons who 

when consuls carried popular legislation about pro- 

cesses of appeal ; then they come to the better 

known cases of Gaius Flaminius, who when tribune 

of the plebs some years before the second Punic War 232 b.o. 

carried an agrarian law against the will of the senate 

and afterwards t^Wce became consul, and of Lucius 

Cassius and Quintus Pompeius ; indeed these people 

have a way of including even PubHus Africanus in 

the same Hst. But they say that the two very wise 

and distinguished brothers Pubhus Crassus and Pub- 

hus Scaevola were supporters of the laws of Tiberius 

Gracchus, the former (as we read) openly, the latter i33 ao. 

(as they suspect) more covertly. They also add 

Gaius Marius, and about him at all events they say 

nothing that is untrue. After parading all this hst 

of names of men of such distinction they declare that 

they themselves are following the principle set up 

14 by them. Similarly your school, whenever you want 
to upset an already well-estabhshed system of philo- 
sophy just as they did a pohtical system, quote 
Empedocles, Anaxagoras, DemocrituSj Parmenides, 



etiam et Socratem profertis. Sed neque Saturninus, 
ut nostrum inimicum potissimum nominem, simile 
quidquam habuit veterum illorum, nec Arcesilae 
calumnia conferenda est cum Democriti verecundia. 
Et tamen isti physici raro admodum, cum haerent 
aliquo loco, exclamant quasi mente incitati — Empe- 
docles quidem ut interdum mihi furere videatur — 
abstrusa esse omnia, nihil nos sentire, nihil cernere, 
nihii omnino quale sit posse reperire ; maiorem autem 
partem mihi quidem omnes isti videntur nimis etiam 
quaedam adfirmare, plusque profiteri se scire quam 
15 sciant. Quodsi illi tum in novis rebus quasi modo 
nascentes haesitaverunt, nihilne tot saecuHs, summis 
ingeniis, maximis studiis explicatum putamus ? 
nonne cum iam philosophorum disciplinae gravis- 
simae constitissent, tum exortus est, ut in optima 
re pubhca Ti. Gracchus qui otium perturbaret, sic 
Arcesilas qui constitutam philosophiam everteret, 
et in eorum auctoritate dehtesceret qui negavissent 
quidquam sciri aut percipi posse ? Quorum e numero 
tollendus est et Plato et Socrates — alter quia re- 
hquit perfectissimam discipHnam, Peripateticos et 
Academicos, nominibus differentes, re congruentes, 
a quibus Stoici ipsi verbis magis quam sententiis dis- 

" i.e., to put Arcesilas in a Hst of philosophers that includes 
Democritus is Hke classing a modern demagogue with the 
democratic statesmen of history. Saturninus, the colleague 
of Marius, finally went beyond him, and was killed by the 


ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), v. 

Xenophanes, and even Plato and Socrates. Biit 
neither had Saturninus — to cite in particular the 
name of the enemy of my family — any feature re- 
sembhn<T those men of old, nor can the chicanery of 
Arcesilas be compared with the modesty of Demo- 
critus." And nevertheless your natural philosophers 
do rather rarely, when brought to a standstill at some 
topic, cry out in an excited sort of manner — Empe- 
docles indeed in a way that sometimes makes me 
think him raving — saying that all things are hidden 
and that we perceive nothing, discern nothing, are 
utterly unable to discover the real nature of any- 
thing ; although for the most part all your school 
seem to me at all events to be only too confident in 
some of their assertions and to profess to know more 
15 than they really do. But if those old thinkers found 
themselves floundering hke babies just born in a 
new world, do we imagine that all these generations 
and these consummate intellects and elaborate in- 
vestigations have not succeeded in making anything 
clearer ? Is it not the case that, just as in the 
noblest of states Tiberius Gracchus arose to disturb 
the atmosphere of peace, so when the most authori- 
tative schools of philosophy had now come to a stand- 
still, then there arose Arcesilas to overthrow the 
estabhshed philosophy, and to lurk behind the 
authority of those whom he asserted to have denied 
the possibihty of all knowledge and perception ? 
From the hst of these we must remove both Plato 
and Socrates — the former because he left behind 
him a most consummate system of thought, the 
Peripatetic School and the Academy, which have 
different names but agree in substance, and from 
which the Stoics themselves disagreed more in terms 



senserunt ; Socrates autem de se ipse detrahens in 
disputatione plus tribuebat iis quos volebat refellere ; 
ita cum aliud diceret atque sentiret, libenter uti 
solitus est ea dissimulatione quam Graeci eipwvetav 
vocant ; quam ait etiam in Africano fuisse Fannius, 
idque propterea \-itiosum in illo non putandum quod 
idem fuerit in Socrate. 
16 VI. " Sed fuerint illa vetera.^ si voltis, incognita : 
nihilne est igitur actum quod investigata sunt postea- 
quam Arcesilas, Zenoni (ut putatur) obtrectans nihil 
no\d reperienti sed emendanti superiores immuta- 
tione verborum, dum huius definitiones labefactare 
volt conatus est clarissimis rebus tenebras obducere ? 
Cuius primo non admodum probata ratio, quamquam 
floruit cum acumine ingenii tum admirabiU quodam 
lepore dicendi, proxime a Lacyde solo retenta est, 
post autem confecta a Carneade, qui est quartus 
ab Arcesila, audivit enim Hegesinum qui Euandrum 
audierat Lacydi discipulum, cum Arcesilae Lacydes 
fuisset. Sed ipse Carneades diu tenuit, nam nona- 
ginta vixit annos, et qui illum audierant admodum 
floruerunt, e quibus industriae plurimum in Chto- 
macho fuit (declarat multitudo hbrorum), ingenii 
non minus in Hagnone,^ in Charmada eloquentiae, 

1 veteribus Bentley. 

* in Kaprnone Christ : in hac nonne {et alia) codd.i in 
Aeschine Davies. 

• Little or nothing is known of this philosopher or of the 
others mentioned in this section. 


ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), v.— vi. 

than in opinions. As for Socrates, he used to de- 
preciate himself in discussion and to assign greater 
weight to those whom he wished to refute ; thus, 
as he said something other than what he thought, he 
was fond of regularly employing the practice of dis- 
sembhng that the Greeks call irony, which Fannius 
says was also a feature of Africanus, and one not to 
be deemed a fault in him, for the reason that Socrates 
had the same habit. 
16 VI. " But let us grant if you wish that those and phiio- 
ancient doctrines represented no real knowledge ; p°rogress?d 
has nothing then been achieved by their having 
been under examination ever since the time when 
Arcesilas, criticizing Zeno (so it is supposed) as 
making no new discoveries but only correcting 
his predecessors by verbal alterations, in his desire 
to undermine Zeno's definitions attempted to cover 
with darkness matters that were exceedingly clear ? 
His system was at first not very much accepted, 
although he was distinguished both by acuteness 
of intellect and by a certain admirable charm of 
style, and at the first stage it was preserved by 
Lacydes only, but afterwards it was completed by 
Carneades, who is the fourth in Hne from Arcesilas, 
having attended the courses of Hegesinus " who had 
attended Evander, the pupil of Lacydes as Lacydes 
had been the pupil of Arcesilas. But Carneades 
himself held the school for a long time, for he Uved 
to be ninety, and those who had been his pupils were 
of considerable eminence, CHtomachus being the one 
among them most distinguished for industry (as is 
proved by the large number of his books), though 
there was an equal amount of talent in Hagnon, of 
eloquence in Charmades, and of charm in Melanthius 



in Melanthio Rhodio suavitatis. Bene autem nosse 

17 Carneaden Stratoniceus Metrodorus putabatur. lam 
Clitomacho Philo vester operam multos annos dedit ; 
Philone autem vivo patrocinium Academiae non de- 
fuit. Sed quod nos facere nunc ingredimur ut contra 
Academicos disseramus, id quidam e philosophis et ii 
quidem non mediocres faciundum omnino non puta- 
bant, nec vero esse ullam rationem disputare cum iis 
qui nihil probarent, Antipatrumque Stoicum qui 
multus in eo fuisset reprehendebant ; nec definiri 
aiebant necesse esse quid esset cognitio aut perceptio 
aut (si verbum e verbo volumus) comprehensio, quara 
KaTdXrjxpLv illi vocant, eosque qui persuadere vellent 
esse aUquid quod comprehendi et percipi posset 
inscienter facere dicebant, propterea quod nihil esset 
clarius kvapy^ia. (ut Graeci, perspicuitatem aut evi- 
dentiam nos, si placet, nominemus, fabricemurque si 
opus erit verba, ne hic sibi " — me appellabat iocans— 
" hoc hcere putet soh) : sed tamen orationem nuUam 
putabant inlustriorem ipsa evidentia reperiri posse, 
nec ea quae tam clara essent definienda censebant. 
Ahi autem negabant se pro hac evidentia quidquam 
priores fuisse dicturos, sed ad ea quae contra dice- 
rentur dici oportere putabant, ne qui fallerentur. 

18 Plerique tamen et delinitiones ipsarum etiam eviden- 

» See i. 41 n. 

* A general term denoting things that are self-evident and 
do not require proof, used as a technical term by Zeno to 
denote the characteristic of KaTaXrjTTTiKr] <pavTaaia. 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), vi. 

of Rhodes. But the Metrodorus who was a pupil of 
Stratonicus was believed to have been well acquainted 

17 with Carneades. Again Philo of your school for Piiiio'8 
many years gave his attention to Chtomachus ; and zeno went 
while Philo hved the Academy did not lack advocacy. ^"^^ ^"* 
But the undertaking upon which we are now entering, 

the refutation of the Academics, was entirely ruled 
out by some of the philosophers, and those indeed 
men of no inconsiderable standing, and they held 
that there was really no sense in arguing -svith thinkers 
who sanctioned nothing as proved, and they criticized 
the Stoic Antipater for spending much time in this ; 
and they also asserted that there was no need to 
define the essential nature of knowledge or percep- 
tion or (if we wish to give a hteral translation) 
' mental grasp,' the Stoic term catalepsis,"' and main- 
tained that those who tried to prove that there is 
something that can be grasped and perceived were 
acting unscientifically, because there was nothing 
clearer than enargeia ^ (as the Greeks call it : let us 
term it perspicuousness or evldentness, if you will, 
and let us manufacture terms if necessary, so as not 
to let our friend here " — this was a jocular shot at me 
— " think that he has a monopoly of this hcence) : 
well, they thought that no argument could be dis- 
covered that was clearer than evidentness itself, and 
they deemed that truths so manifest did not need 
defining. But others said that they would not have 
opened proceedings "with any speech in defence of 
this evidentness, but held that the proper course was 
for argument to be directed to answering the case 
for the prosecution, so that they might not be some- 

18 how taken in. Still a good many of them do not 
object to definitions even of evident things them- 



tium rerum non improbant et rem idoneam de qua 
quaeratur et homines dignos quibuscum disseratur 
putant. Philo autem dum nova quaedam commovet 
quod ea sustinere vix poterat quae contra Academi- 
corimi pertinaciam dicebantur, et aperte mentitur, 
ut est reprehensus a patre Catulo, et, ut docuit An- 
tiochus, in id ipsum se induit quod timebat. Cum 
enim ita negaret quidquam esse quod comprehendi 
posset (id enim volumus esse dKaTa.X-i]7rTov ^), si illud 
esset, sicut Zeno definiret, tale visum (iam enim hoc 
pro (fiavToxrLa verbum satis hesterno sermone trivimus), 
visum igitur impressum effictumque ex eo unde esset 
quale esse non posset ex eo unde non esset (id nos a 
Zenone definitum rectissime dicimus, qui enim potest 
quidquam comprehendi ut plane confidas perceptum 
id cognitumque esse, quod est tale quale vel falsum 
esse possit ?) — hoc cum infirmat tollitque Philo, 
iudicium tollit incogniti et cogniti ; ex quo efficitur 
nihil posse comprehendi — ita imprudens eo quo 
minime volt revolvitur. Quare omnis oratio contra 
Academiam ita^ suscipitur a nobis ut retineamus eam 

* KaraXrjTrrou edd. nonnulU. 
2 ita inseruit ed. 


ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), vi. 

selves, and they think that any fact is a suitable 
matter for investigation and that human beings 
deserve to have their views discussed. But Philo, 
in raising certain revohitionary doctrines because he 
was scarcely able to withstand the usual arguments 
against the obstinacy of the Academics, manifestly 
propounds what is not true, as he was blamed for 
doing by the elder Catulus, and also, as Antiochus 
proved, himself shpped into the very position that 
he was afraid of. For when he thus maintained 
that there was nothing that could be grasped (that 
is the expression that we choose in rendering 
acatalepton "), if that ' presentation ' of which he 
spoke (for we have by this time sufficiently habituated 
oursehes by our yesterday's conversation to this 
rendering of pkaniasia) was, as Zeno defined it, a 
presentation impressed and moulded from the object 
from which it came in a form such as it could not 
have if it came from an object that was not the one 
that it actually did come from (we declare that this 
definition of Zeno's is absolutely correct, for how 
can anything be grasped in such a way as to make 
you absolutely confident that it has been perceived 
and kno^\Ti, if it has a form that could belong to it 
even if it were false ?) — when Philo weakens and 
abohshes this, he abohshes the criterion between the 
unknowable and the knowable ; which leads to the 
inference that nothing can be grasped — so in- 
cautiously does he come round to the position that 
he most wants to avoid. Therefore the whole de- 
fence of the case against the Academy is undertaken 
by us on the hne of preserving the process of defini- 

" To be accurately expressed, the sense requires the 
positive catalepton. 



definitionem quara Philo voluit evertere ; quam nisi 
obtinemus, percipi nihil posse concedimus. 

19 VII. " Ordiamur igitur a sensibus, quorum ita clara 
iudicia et certa sunt ut si optio naturae nostrae 
detur et ab ea deus aliqui requirat contentane sit 
suis Integris incorruptisque sensibus an postulet 
melius aliquid, non \ddeam quid quaerat amplius. 
Nec vero hoc loco exspectandum est dum de remo 
inflexo aut de collo columbae respondeam, non enim 
is sum qui quidquid videtur tale dicam esse quale 
videatur. Epicurus hoc viderit, et alia multa ; meo 
autem iudicio ita est maxima in sensibus veritas, si 
et sani sunt ac valentes et omnia removentur quae 
obstant et impediunt. Itaque et lumen mutari saepe 
volumus et situs earum rerimi quas intuemur et 
intervalla aut contrahimus aut diducimus multaque 
facimus usque eo dum aspectus ipse fidem faciat sui 
iudici. Quod idem fit in vocibus, in odore, in sapore, 
ut nemo sit nostrum qui in sensibus sui cuiusque 

20 generis iudicium requirat acrius. Adhibita vero 
exercitatione et arte, ut oculi pictura teneantur, 
aures cantibus,^ quis est quin cernat quanta vis sit 
in sensibus ? Quam multa vident pictores in umbris 
et in eminentia quae nos non videmus ! quam multa 
quae nos fugiunt in cantu exaudiunt in eo genere 
exercitati, qui primo inflatu tibicinis Antiopam esse 

^ ut . . . cantibus secl. Davies. 

" i.e.^ an oar half in the water, as seen from the boat ; 
this case of refraction and the changing colours of a pigeon's 
neck were instances of apparent deception of the senses much 
used by the Sceptics ; c/. § 79. 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), vi. — vii. 

tion which Philo wished to overthrow ; and unless 
we bucceed in upholding it, we adniit that nothing 
can be perceived. 

19 VII. " Let us begin therefore from the senses, (2)Sceptic. 
whose verdicts are so clear and certain that if human '-."^"^ ^^^^^ 

11. 1 . 1 to inaction 

nature were given the choice, and were interrogated andto 
by some god as to whether it was content with its ih°°sTn3?s' 
own senses in a sound and undamaged state or de- gi^e 
manded something better, I cannot see what more Srknow- 
it could ask for. Nor indeed is it necessary to dehiv ^^^^e and 

1 . . 1 -1 T 1 1 r- 1 * science. 

at tms pomt while 1 answer about the case oi the 
bent oar ** or the pigeon's neck, for I am not one to 
assert that every object seen is really such as it 
appears to be. Let Epicurus see to that, and a 
number of other matters ; but in my judgement the 
senses contain the highest truth, given that they are 
sound and healthy and also that all obstacles and 
hindrances are removed. That is why we often 
desire a change of the hght and of the position of the 
objects that we are observing, and diminish or enlarge 
their distances from us, and take various measures, 
until mere looking makes us trust the judgement that 
it forms. The same is done in the case of sounds and 
smell and taste, so that among us there is nobody 
who desiderates keener powers of judgement in the 

20 senses, each in its class. But when we add practice 
and artistic training, to make our eyes sensitive to 
painting and our ears to music, who is there who can 
fail to remark the power that the senses possess ? 
How many things painters see in shadows and in tlie 
foreground which we do not see ! how many things 
in music that escape us are caught by the hearing of 
persons trained in that department of art, wlio when 
the flute-player blows his first note say * That is 



aiunt aut Andromacham, cum id nos ne suspicemur 
quidem ! Nihil necesse est de gustatu et odoratu 
loqui, in quibus intellegentia, etsi vitiosa, est quae- 
dam tamen. Quid de tactu, et eo quidem quem philo- 
sophi interiorem vocant, aut doloris aut voluptatis, 
in quo Cyrenaici solo putant veri esse iudicium quia 
sentiatur ? Potestne igitur quisquam dicere inter 
eum qui doleat et inter eum qui in voluptate sit 
nihil interesse, aut ita qui sentiat non apertissime 

21 insaniat ? Atqui quaha sunt haec quae sensibus per- 
cipi dicimus, taha secuntur ea quae non sensibus 
ipsis percipi dicuntur sed quodam modo sensibus, 
ut haec : ' Illud est album, hoc dulce, canorum illud. 
hoc bene olens, hoc asperum.' Animo iam haec tene- 
mus comprehensa, non sensibus. ' Ille ' deinceps 
* equus est, ille canis.' Cetera series deinde se- 
quitur, maiora nectens, ut haec, quae quasi expletam 
rerum comprehensionem amplectuntur : * Si homo 
est, animal est mortale, rationis particeps.' Quo e 
genere nobis notitiae rerum imprimuntur, sine quibus 
nec intellegi quidquam nec quaeri disputarive potest. 

22 Quodsi essent falsae notitiae (iwoLas enim notitias 

appellare tu videbare) — si igitur essent hae falsae aut 

eius modi visis impressae quaUa visa a falsis discerni 

" Plays of Pacuvius and Erinius re.spectively. 
^ i.e.t in the dialogue of the day before, in the lost first 
edition of Book I. 


ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), vii. 

Aniiope ' or ' Andromache,' ° when we have not 
even a suspicion of it ! It is unnecessary to talk 
at all about the faculties of taste and smell, which 
possess a certain discernment, although it is of a 
defective sort. Why speak of touch, and indeed of 
the internal tactual sense, as the philosophers call it, 
perceptive of either pain or pleasure, the sole basis, 
as the Cyrenaics think, of our judgement of truth, 
caused by the mere process of sensation ? Is it 
therefore possible for anybody to say that there is no 
difference between a person experiencing pain and 
a person experiencing pleasure, or would not the 

21 holder of this opinion be a manifest lunatic ? But 
then whatever character belongs to these objects 
which w^e say are perceived by the senses must belong 
to that follomng set of objects which are said to 
be perceived not by actual sensation but by a sort 
of sensation, as for example : ' Yonder thing is 
white, this thing is sweet, that one is melodious, this 
fragrant, this rough.' This class of percepts consists 
of comprehensions grasped by our mind, not by our 
senses. Then * Yonder object is a horse, yonder a 
dog.' Next follows the rest of the series hnking on 
a chain of larger percepts, for instance the following, 
which embrace as it were a fully completed grasp of 
the objects : * If it is a human being, it is a rational 
mortal animal.' From this class of percept are im- 
printed upon us our notions of things, without which 
all understanding and all investigation and dis- 

22 cussion are impossible. But if false notions existed 
(I understood you to employ ^ * notions ' to render 
ennoiai) — well, if there were these false notions or 
notions imprinted on the mind by appearances of a 
kind that could not be distinguished from false ones, 


non possent, quo tandem iis modo uteremur ? quo 
modo autem quid cuique rei consentaneum esset, 
quid repugnaret, videremus ? Memoriae quidem 
certe, quae non modo philosophiam sed omnem vitae 
usum omnesque artes una maxime continet, nihil 
omnino loci rehnquitur. Quae potest enim esse 
memoria falsorum ? aut quid quisquam meminit 
quod non animo comprehendit et tenet ? ars vero 
quae potest esse nisi quae non ex una aut duabus sed 
ex multis animi perceptionibus constat ? Quam^ si 
subtraxeris, qui distingues artificem ab inscio ? non 
enim fortuito hunc artificem dicemus esse, illum 
negabimus, sed cum alterum percepta et compre- 
hensa tenere videmus, alterum non item. Cumque 
artium aHud eius modi genus sit ut tantum modo 
animo rem cernat, ahud ut moliatur ahquid et faciat, 
quo modo aut geometres cernere ea potest quae aut 
nulla sunt aut internosci a falsis non possunt, aut is 
qui fidibus utitur explere numeros et conficere versus ? 
quod idem in similibus quoque artibus continget 
quarum omne opus est in faciendo atque agendo, 
quid enim est quod arte effici possit, nisi is qui artem 
tractabit multa perceperit ? 
23 VIII. " Maxime vero virtutum cognitio confirmat 
percipi et comprehendi multa posse. In quibus sohs 
inesse etiam scientiam dicimus (quam nos non com- 
prehensionem modo rerum sed eam stabilem quoque 
et immutabilem esse censemus), itemque sapientiam, 

* quas Walker. 

" Artifex denotes the pursuer of an ars^ an organized body 
of knowledge, a science, whether theoretical or apphed in 
practice. It includes here the musician (also regarded as a 
poet), but the practice of music seems to be envisaged as 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), vii.— viii. 

how pray coiild we act on them ? how moreover could 
we see what is consistent with any given fact and 
what inconsistent ? At all events no place at all is 
left for memory, the one principal foundation not 
only of philosophy but of all the conduct of Hfe and 
all the sciences. For how can there possibly be a 
memory of what is false ? or what can anyone re- 
member that he does not grasp and hold in his mind ? 
But what science can there be that is not made up of 
not one nor two but many mental percepts ? And if 
you take away science, how will you distinguish be- 
tween the craftsman^ and the ignoramus ? for we shall 
not pronounce one man to be a craftsman, and the 
other not, just casually, but when we see the one 
retain what he has perceived and grasped, and the 
other not. And as one class of sciences is of such a 
nature as only to envisage facts mentally, and another 
such as to do or to make something, how can the 
geometrician envisage things that are either non- 
existent or indistinguishable from flctitious things, or 
the player on the harp round off his rhythms and 
complete his verses ? and the same result will also 
occur in the other crafts of the same class which are 
solely exercised in making and doing, for what can 
be effected by a craft unless its intending practitioner 
has accumulated many percepts ? 
28 VIII. " The greatest proof however of our capacity True 

to perceive and grasp many things is afforded by the is^[i^dyspens. 
study of Ethics. Our percepts alone we actually «^bie for 
pronounce to form the basis of knowledge (which in conduct and 
our view is not only a grasp of facts but a grasp that j^Q^o^le^jgQ^ 
I is also permanent and unchangeable), and Uke^Wse 

based on knowlcdge of its t.heory. At § l-t3 the craftsmen 
instanced are a painter and two sculptors. 



artem vivendi, quae ipsa ex sese habeat constantiam. 
Ea autem constantia si nihil habeat percepti et 
cogniti, quaero unde nata sit aut quo modo. Quaero 
etiam, ille vir bonus qui statuit omnem cruciatum 
perferre, intolerabili dolore lacerari potius quam aut 
officium prodat aut fidem, cur has sibi tam graves 
leges imposuerit cum quam ob rem ita oporteret nihil 
haberet comprehensi, percepti, cogniti, constituti. 
Nullo igitur modo fieri potest ut quisquam tanti 
aestimet aequitatem et fidem ut eius conservandae 
causa nullum supphcium recuset, nisi iis rebus ad- 

24 sensus sit quae falsae esse non possint. Ipsa vero 
sapientia si se ignorabit sapientia sit necne, quo 
modo primum obtinebit nomen sapientiae ? deinde 
quo modo suscipere aliquam rem aut agere fidenter 
audebit cum certi nihil erit quod sequatur ? cum vero 
dubitabit quid sit extremum et ultimum bonorum 
ignorans quo omnia referantur, qui poterit esse 
sapientia ? Atque etiam illud perspicuum est, con- 
stitui necesse esse initium quod sapientia cum quid 
agere incipiat sequatur, idque initium esse naturae 
accommodatum, Nam ahter adpetitio (eam enim 
volumus esse o/)pjv), qua ad agendum impellimur et 
id adpetimus quod est visum, moveri non potest ; 

25 illud autem quod movet prius oportet videri, eique 
credi, quod fieri non potest si id quod visum erit 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus). viii. 

of wisdom, the science of livinsr, which is its own 
source of consistency. But if this consistency had 
nothing that it grasped and knew, whence, I ask, or 
how would it be engendered ? consider also the ideal 
good man, who has resolved to endure all torments 
and to be mangled by intolerable pain rather than 
betray either his duty or his promise — why, I ask, 
has he saddled himself with such burdensome rules 
as this when he had no grasp or perception or know- 
ledge or certainty of any fact that furnished a reason 
why it was his duty to do so ? It is therefore ab- 
solutely impossible that anybody should set so high 
a value upon equity and good faith as to refuse no 
torture for the sake of preserving it, unless he has 
given his assent to things that cannot possibly be 

24 false. As for wisdom herself, if she does not know 
whether she is wisdom or not, how^ in the first place 
will she make good her claim to the name of wisdom ? 
next, how will she venture with confidence to plan or 
execute any undertaking when there will be nothing 
certain for her to act upon ? indeed, when she will 
be hesitating in ignorance of what the final and 
ultimate good to which all things are to be referred 
really is, how can she possibly be wisdom ? This other 
point moreover is manifest : there must be a first 
principle established for M-isdom to follow when she 
embarks on any action, and this first principle must 
be consistent with nature ; fgr otherwise appetition 
(our chosen equivalent for the term horme), by which 
we are impelled to action and seek to get an object 

25 presented to our vision, cannot be set in motion ; but 
the thing that sets it in motion must first of all be 
seen, and must be beheved in, which cannot take 
place if an object seen will be indistinguishable from 



discerni non poterit a falso ; quo modo autem moveri 
animus ad adpetendum potest si id quod videtur non 
percipitur accommodatumne naturae sit an alienum ? 
Itemque si quid officii sui sit non occurrit animo, nihil 
umquam omnino aget, ad nullam rem umquam 
impelletur, numquam movebitur ; quodsi aliquid 
aliquando acturus est, necesse est id ei verum quod 

26 occurrit \ideri. Quid quod, si ista vera sunt, ratio 
omnis tollitur quasi quaedam lux lumenque vitae ? 
tamenne in ista pravitate perstabitis ? Nam quae- 
rendi initium ratio attulit, quae^ perfecit virtutem 
cum esset ipsa ratio confirmata quaerendo ; quaestio 
autem est adpetitio cognitionis, quaestionisque finis 
inventio ; at nemo invenit falsa, nec ea quae incerta 
permanent inventa esse possunt, sed cum ea quae 
quasi involuta fuerunt aperta sunt, tum inventa 
dicuntur — sic et initium quaerendi et exitus per- 
cipiundi et comprendendi tenetur. Argumenti con- 
clusio, quae est Graece O7ro8eif ts, ita definitur : * ratio 
quae ex rebus perceptis ad id quod non percipie- 
batur adducit.' 

27 IX. " Quodsi omnia visa eius modi essent qualia 
isti dicunt, ut ea vel falsa esse possent neque ea 
posset ulla notio discernere, quo modo quemquam 
aut conclusisse aliquid aut invenisse diceremus, aut 
quae esset conclusi argumenti fides ? Ipsa autem 
philosophia, quae rationibus progredi debet, quem 

^ quod ( = quaerendum, quaestio) ? ed. 

" Cicero seems to be translating some such phrase as </>Is 
Kai (peyyo$ tov filov. 

^ Tlie sense seems to require ' research which ' : for virtns, 
or its Stoic equivalcnt sapientia, as ratio perfecta cf. i. 20, 
ii. 30 fin. 

" Involuta aperire is a translation of iKKa^KvwTeiv^ denoting 


ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), viii.— ix. 

a false one ; but how can the mind be moved to 
appetition if it does not perceive whether the object 
seen is cousistent with nature or foreign to it } And 
moreover if it has not struck the mind what its 
function is, it will never do anything at all, never be 
driven towards any object, never make a movement ; 
whereas if it is at some time to do something, what 

26 strikes it must seem to it to be true. What about 
the total abohtion of reason, ' Hfe's dayspring and 
source of light,' '^ that must take place if your 
doctrines are true ? will your school continue stead- 
fast in such perversity all the same ? For it is reason 
that initiated research, reason ^ which has perfected 
virtue, since reason herself is strengthened by pur- 
suing research ; but research is the appetition for 
knowledge, and the aim of research is discovery ; 
yet nobody discovers what is false, and things that 
remain continually uncertain cannot be discovered : 
discovery means the ' opening up of things pre- 
viously veiled ' '^ — this is how the mind holds both 
the commencement of research and the final act 
of perceiving and grasping. Therefore this is the 
definition of logical proof, in Greek apodeixis : ' a 
process of reasoning that leads from things perceived 
to something not previously perceived.' 

27 IX. " In fact if all sense-presentations were of such and for 

a kind as your school say they are, so that they could whiih°^ ^' 
possibly be false without any mental process being Carneades 
able to distinguish them, how could we say that any- unier- 
body had proved or discovered anything, or what "^'^^*^- 
trust could we put in logical proof ? Philosophy her- 
self must advance by argument — how will she find a 

a process of argument ; the conclusion is seen to be contalncd 
in the premisses. 



habebit exitum ? Sapientiae vero quid futurum est ? 
quae neque de se ipsa dubitare debet neque de suis 
decretis quae philosophi vocant S6yiJ.aTa, quorum 
nullum sine scelere prodi poterit ; cum enim decretum 
proditur, lex veri rectique proditur, quo e vitio et 
amicitiarum proditiones et rerum publicarum nasci 
solent. Non potest igitur dubitari quin decretum 
nullum falsum possit esse sapientis, neque satis sit 
non esse falsum sed etiam stabile, fixum, ratum esse 
debeat, quod movere nulla ratio queat ; talia autem 
neque esse neque videri possunt eorum ratione qui 
illa visa e quibus omnia decreta sunt nata negant 

28 quicquam a falsis interesse. Ex hoc illud est natum 
quod postulabat Hortensius, ut id ipsum saltem 
perceptum a sapiente diceretis, nihil posse percipi. 
Sed Antipatro hoc idem postulanti, cum diceret ei 
qui adfirmaret nihil posse percipi unum tamen illud 
dicere percipi posse consentaneum esse, ut aha non 
possent, Carneades acutius resistebat ; nam tantum 
abesse dicebat ut id consentaneum esset, ut maxime 
etiam repugnaret : qui enim negaret quicquam esse 
quod perciperetur, eum nihil excipere ; ita necesse 
esse ne id ipsum quidem, quod exceptum non esset, 

29 comprendi et percipi uUo modo posse. Antiochus ad 
istum locum pressius vldebatur accedere : quoniam 
enim id haberent Academici decretum (sentitis enim 
iam hoc me 6dy/xa dicere), nihil posse percipi, non 
debere eos in suo decreto sicut in ceteris rebus 

• i<r(pa\rj Kal virb \6yov Sextus, A.M. vii. 151. 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), ix. 

wav out ? And what will happen to Wisdom ? it is 
her duty not to doubt herself or her ' decisions,' which 
philosophers term dogmaia, any of which it will be 
a crime to abandon ; for the surrender of such a 
* dccision ' is the betrayal of the moral law, and that sin 
is the common source of betrayals of friends and 
country. Therefore it cannot be doubted that no 
' decision ' of a wise man can be false, and that it is not 
sufficient for them not to be false but they must also be 
firmly settled and ratified, immovable by any argu- 
ment '^ ; but such a character cannot belong or seem 
to belong to them on the theory of those who main- 
tain that the sense-presentations from which all 
decisions spring differ in no way from false presenta- 

>8 tions. From this sprang the demand put forward 
by Hortensius, that your school should say that the 
wise man has perceived at least the mere fact that 
nothing can be perceived. But when Antipater used 
to make the same demand, and to say that one who 
asserted that nothing could be perceived might yet 
consistently say that this single fact could be per- 
ceived, namely that nothing else could, Carneades 
-with greater acumen used to oppose him ; he used 
to declare that this was so far from being consistent 
that it was actually grossly inconsistent : for the man 
who said there was nothing that was perceived made 
no exception, and so not even the impossibility of 
perception could itself be grasped and perceived in 

J9 any way, because it had not been excepted. Anti- 
ochus used to seem to come more closely to grips 
with this position ; he argued that because the 
Academics held it as a ' decision ' (for you reahze by 
now that I use that term to translate dogma) that 
nothing could be perceived, they were bound not to 



fluctvmre, praesertim ciim in eo siimma consisteret, 
hanc enim esse regulam totius philosophiae, con- 
stitutionem veri falsi, cogniti incogniti ; quam ratio- 
nem quoniam susciperent, docereque vellent quae 
visa accipi oporteret, quae repudiari, certe hoc 
ipsum ex quo omne veri falsique iudicium esset 
percipere eos debuisse ; etenim duo esse hacc 
maxima in philosophia, iudicium veri et finem bono- 
rum, nec sapientem posse esse qui aut cognoscendi 
esse initium ignoret aut extremum expetendi, ut 
aut unde proficiscatur aut quo perveniendum sit 
nesciat ; haec autem habere dubia nec iis ita con- 
fidere ut moveri non possint^ abhorrere a sapientia 
plurimum.2 Hoc igitur modo potius erat ab his 
postulandum ut hoc unum saltem, percipi nihil posse, 
perceptum esse dicerent. Sed de inconstantia totius 
illorum sententiae, si ulla sententia cuiusquam esse 
potest nihil adprobantis, sit ut' opinor dictum satis. 
30 X. " Sequitur disputatio copiosa illa quidem sed 
paulo abstrusior — habet enim aUquantum aphysicis, — 
ut verear ne maiorem largiar ei qui contra dicturus 
est hbertatem et Hcentiam, nam quid eum facturum 
putem de abditis rebus et obscuris qui lucem eripere 
conetur ? Sed disputari poterat subtihter quanto 

^ possit ? ed. 

2 <quani/ plurimum ? ed. 

3 sit ut : est Ernesti. 

" i.e., in Antiochus's Sosus, see § 12. C/, § 38. 

* For this reproach against the Sceptics c/. §§ 38, 61, 109. 

* C/. i. 19. 


ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), ix.— x. 

waver in their own ' decision ' as they did in everything- 
else, particuh\rly when it was the keystone of their 
system, for this was the measuring-rod that apphed 
to the whole of philosophy, the test of truth and false- 
hood, of knowledge and ignorance ; and that since 
they adopted this method, and desired to teach what 
sense-presentations ought to be accepted and what 
rejected, they unquestionably ought to have per- 
ceived this decision itself, the basis of every criterion 
of truth and falsehood ; for (he said) the two greatest 
things in philosophy were the criterion of truth and 
the end of goods, and no man could be a sage who 
was ignorant of the existence of either a beginning of 
the process of knowledge or an end of appetition, and 
who consequently did not know from Mhat he was 
starting or at what he ought to arrive ; but to be in 
doubt as to these matters and not to feel imraovably 
sure of them was to be very widely remote from wisdom. 
On these hnes therefore they ought to have been 
required rather to say that this one thing at least 
was perceived — the impossil^ility of perceiving any- 
thing. But about the inconsistency of the whole of 
their theory, if anybody holding no positive view at 
all can be said to have any theory, enough, as I think, 
may have been said. 
30 X. " Next comes " a discussion which though very (3)The 
fully developed is a httle more recondite, for it con- ^^^^^^^ 
tains a certain amount of matter derived from natural psychoiogy: 
philosophy ; so that I am afraid that I may be bestow- derived °^' 
inff ffreater hberty and even hcence upon the speaker from 
who is to oppose me, lor wnat can 1 suppose tnat i. the basis 
one who is endeavouring to rob us of hght ^* will do of^tue. 
about matters that are hidden in darkness ? '^ Still, it 
would have been possible to discuss in minute detail 



quasi artificio natura fabricata esset primum animal 
omne, deinde hominem maxime, quae vis esset in 
sensibus, quem ad modum primo visa nos pellerent, 
deinde adpetitio ab his pulsa sequeretur, tum^ sensus 
ad res percipiendas intenderemus. Mens enim ipsa, 
quae sensuum fons est atque etiam ipsa^ sensus est, 
naturalem vim habet quam intendit ad ea quibus 
movetur. Itaque alia visa sic arripit ut iis statira 
utatur, alia quasi recondit, e quibus memoria oritur, 
cetera autem similitudinibus construit, ex quibus 
efficiuntur notitiae rerum, quas Graeci tum hvocas, 
tum ~poXrj\p€Ls vocant. Eo cum accessit ratio argu- 
mentique conclusio rerumque innumerabilium mul- 
titudo, tum et perceptio eorum omnium apparet et 
eadem ratio perfecta his gradibus ad sapientiam per- 
31 venit. Ad rerum igitur scientiam vitaeque constan- 
tiam aptissima cum sit mens hominis, amplectitur 
maxime cognitionem et istam KaTdkrjxfcv, quam ut 
dixi verbum e verbo exprimentes comprensionem 
dicemus, cum ipsam per se amat (nihil enim est ei 
veritatis luce dulcius) , tum etiam propter usum. Quo- 
circa et sensibus utitur et artes efficit quasi sensus 
alteros et usque eo philosophiam ipsam corroborat 
ut virtutem efficiat, ex qua re una vita omnis apta 
sit.' Ergo ii qui negant quicquam posse comprendi 

^ tum ed. : tum ut codd. 

2 ipse Ernesti. 

' est Ilahn. 

■ Adpetitio is Cicero's version of o/j/xt;, see § 24 n. 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), x. 

theamount of craflsmanshipthat natm-e has employed 
in the construction first of e very animal, then most of all 
in man, — the power possessed by the senses, the way 
in which we are first struck by the sense-presenta- 
tions, next follows appetition <* imparted by their im- 
pact, and then we direct the senses to perceive the 
objects. For the mind itself, which is the source of 
the sensations and even is itself sensation, has a 
natural force which it directs to the things by which 
it is moved. Accordingly some sense-presentations 
it seizes on so as to make use of them at once, others 
it as it were stores away, these being the source 
of memory, while all the rest it unites into systems 
by their mutual resemblances, and from these are 
formedthe concepts of objects which the Greeks term 
sometimes ennoiai and sometimes prolepseis. When 
thereto there has been added reason and logical proof 
and an innumerable multitude of facts, then comes 
the clear perception of all these things, and also this 
same reason having been by these stages made com- 
31 plete finally attains to wisdom. Since therefore the 
mind of man is supremely well adapted for the know- 
ledge of things and for consistency of Hfe, it embraces 
information very readily, and your caialepsis, which 
as I said we will express by a hteral translation as 
* grasp,' is loved by the mind both for itself (for 
nothing is dearer to the mind than the hght of truth) 
and also for the sake of its utihty. Hence the mind 
employs the senses, and also creates the sciences as a 
second set of senses, and strengthens the structure of 
philosophy itself to the point where it may produce 
virtue, the sole source of the ordering of the whole of 
life. Therefore those who assert that nothing can be 
grasped deprive us of these things that are the very 



haec ipsa eripiunt vel instrumenta vel omamenta 
vitae, vel potius etiam totam \dtam evertunt funditus 
ipsumque animal orbant animo. ut difficile sit de 
temeritate eorum perinde ut causa postulat dicere. 

32 " Nec vero satis constituere possum quod sit eorum 
consilium aut quid velint. Interdum enim cum ad- 
liibemus ad eos orationem eius modi. si ea quae dis- 
putentur vera sint, tum omnia fore incerta, respon- 
dent : ' Quid ergo istud ad nos ? num nostra culpa 
est ? naturam accusa, quae in profundo veritatem, 
ut ait Democritus, penitus abstruserit.' Alii autem 
elegantius, qui etiam queruntur quod eos insimule- 
raus omnia incerta dicere, quantumque intersit inter 
incertum et id quod percipi non possit docere conan- 
tur eaque distinguere. Cum his igitur agamus qui 
haec distinguunt, illos qui omnia sic incerta dicunt ut 
stellarum numerus par an impar sit quasi desperatos 
aliquos rehnquamus. \"olunt enim (et hoc quidem 
vel maxime vos animadvertebam moveri) probabile 
aliquid esse et quasi veri simile, eaque se uti regula 
et in agenda vita et in quaerendo ac disserendo. 

33 XI. " Quae ista regula est veri et falsi, si no- 
tionem veri et falsi, propterea quod ea non possunt 
internosci, nullam habemus ? Nam si habemus, 
interesse oportet ut inter rectum et pravum sic inter 
verum et falsum : si nihil interest, nulla regula est, 
nec potest is cui est visio veri falsique communis ullum 

* The favourite charge of the Sceptics against the dog- 
matic schools. 

* C/. i. 44 n. 

* Doubtless a reference to the exposition of Catulus at the 
beginning of the lost Book I. of the first edition. 

** Quasi marks veri simile as an explanation of prohabih 
used to translate indavov. 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), x.— xi. 

tools or equipment of life, or rather actually over- 
throw the whole of hfe from its foundations and 
deprive the animate creature itself of the mind that 
animates it, so that it is difficult to speak of their 
rashness ^ entirely as the case requires. 

}2 " Nor indeed can I fully decide what their plan is Adistinc- 
or what they mean. For sometimes when we address a d^f^rence. 
them in this sort of language, ' If your contentions 
are true, then everything will be uncertain,' they 
reply, ' Well, what has that to do with us ? surely it 
is not our fault ; blame nature for having hidden 
truth quite away, in an abyss, as Democritus says.' ^ 
But others make a more elaborate answer, and 
actually complain because we charge them with say- 
ing that everything is uncertain, and they try to 
explain the difference between what is uncertain and 
what cannot be grasped, and to distinguish between 
them. Let us therefore deal with those who make 
this distinction, and leave on one side as a hopeless 
sort of persons the others who say that all things are 
as uncertain as whether the number of the stars is 
odd or even. For they hold (and this in fact, I 
noticed," excites your school extremely) that some- 
thing is * probable,' or as it were ^ resembhng the 
truth, and that this provides them with a canon of 
judgement both in the conduct of hfe and in philo- 
sophical investigation and discussion. 

J3 XI. " \Vhat is this canon of truth and falsehood, ifthe tnie 
if we have no notion of truth and falsehood, for the t^nguisiiable 
reason that they are indistinguishable ? For if we from the 
have a notion of them, there must be a difFerence dence' is 
between true and false, just as there is between right Jestroyed. 
and ^vrong ; if there is none, there is no canon, and 
the man who has a presentation of the true and the 
s 509 


habere iudicium aut ullam omnino veritatis notam. 
Nam cum dicunt hoc se unum tollere ut quicquam 
possit ita^ videri ut non eodem modo falsum etiam 
possit^ videri, cetera autem concedere, faciunt 
pueriliter. Quo enim omnia iudicantur sublato re- 
liqua se negant tollere : ut si quis quem oculis priva- 
verit, dicat ea quae cerni possent se ei non ademisse. 
Ut enim illa oculis modo agnoscuntur, sic reliqua visis, 
sed propria veri, non communi veri et falsi nota. 
Quam ob rem sive tu probabilem^ visionem sive pro- 
babilem et quae non impediatur, ut Carneades vole- 
bat, sive aliud quid proferes quod sequare, ad visum 
34 illud de quo agimus tibi erit revertendum. In eo 
autem, si* erit communitas cum falso, nullum erit 
iudicium, quia proprium^ communi signo notari non 
potest ; sin autem commune nihil erit, habeo quod 
volo, id enim quaero quod ita mihi videatur verum ut 
non possit item falsum videri. Simih in errore ver- 
santur cum convicio veritatis coacti perspicua a per- 
ceptis volunt distinguere, et conantur ostendere esse 

^ ita <verum> Baiter. 

* possit Lamhinus : possit ita codd, 

' Faber : improbabilem codd. 

* si <ei> ? Reid. 

^ proprium Halm : proprium in codd. 

* KOivr] (pauraaia rov re a\r}dod$ /cat \pev5ovs, Sextus. 

^ Perhaps we should emend ' any true thing,' c/. § 34. 
The clause refers to the possibiHty that an hallucination, a 
visual image not corresponding to a real obiect, may exactly 
resemble a visual image presented by a real object. 

■^ (pavracria iridavrj Kal dTrepicnra(rros, a sensation which (1) at 
first sight, without further inquiry, seems true, and also 
(2) when examined in relation to all the other sensations 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xi. 

falsethat is commontoboth" cannothave anycriterion 
or any mark of truth at all. vFor when they say 
that they only remove the possibihty of anything ^ 
presenting an appearance of such a sort that a fiilse 
thing could not present the same appearance, but 
that they allow everything else, they act childishly. 
Having aboHshed the means by which all things are 
judged, they say they do not abolish the remaining 
sources of knowledge ; just as if anybody were to say 
that when he has deprived a man of his eyes he has not 
taken away from that man the possibleobjectsof sight. 
For just as the objects of sight are recognized only by 
means of the eyes, so everything else is recognized by 
means of sense-presentations ; but they are recognized 
by a mark that belongs specially to w^hat is true, and 
is not common to the true and the false. Therefore if 
youbringforward' probablepresentation,'or' probable 
and unhampered presentation,' ^ as Carneades held, or 
something else, as a guide for you to follow, you vnW 
have to come back to the sense-presentation that we 
34 are deahng with. But if this has community with a 
false presentation, it will contain no standard of judge- 
ment, because a special property cannot be indicated 
by a common mark ; while if on the contrary there is 
nothing in common between them, I have got what I 
want, for I am looking for a thing that may appear 
to me so true that it could not appear to me in the 
same way if it were false. They are involved in the 
same mistake when under stress of truth's upbraiding 
they desire to distinguish between things perceived 
and things perspicuous, and try to prove that there is 
such a thing as something perspicuous which although 

received at the same time (which might turn one's attention 
away from it, irepicnrdv) is found to be consistent with them. 



aliquid perspicui, verum illud quidem impressum in 
animo atque mente, neque tamen id percipi atque 
comprendi posse. Quo enim modo perspicue dixeris 
album esse aliquid cum possit accidere ut id quod 
nigrum sit album esse videatur, aut quo modo ista 
aut perspicua dicemus aut impressa subtiliter cum 
sit incertum vere inaniterne moveatur ? Ita neque 
color neque corpus nec veritas nec argumentum nec 

35 sensus neque perspicuum ullum relinquitur. Ex hoc 
illud iis usu venire solet ut quicquid dixerint a quibus- 
dam interrogentur : * Ergo istuc quidem percipis ? * 
Sed qui ita interrogant, ab iis irridentur ; non enim 
urguent ut coarguant neminem ulla de re posse con- 
tendere nec adseverare sine aliqua eius rei quam sibi 
quisque placere dicit certa et propria nota. Quod 
est igitur istuc vestrum probabile ? Nam si quod 
cuique occurrit et primo quasi aspectu probabile 

36 videtur id confirmatur, quid eo levius ? Sin ex cir- 
cumspectione aliqua et accurata consideratione quod 
visum sit id se dicent sequi, tamen exitum non habe- 
bunt, primum quia iis visis inter quae nihil interest 
aequahter omnibus abrogatur fides ; deinde, cum 
dicant posse accidere sapienti ut cum omnia fecerit 
diligentissimeque circumspexerit exsistat aliquid 
quod et veri simile videatur et absit longissime 
a vero, ne si^ magnam partem quidem, ut solent 

* ne si Mdv. : si codd. 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xi. 

a true imprint on the mind and intellect is neverthe- 
less incapable of being perceived and grasped. For 
how can you maintain that something is perspicuously 
white if it can possibly occur that a thing that is 
black may appear white, or how shall we pronounce 
the things in question either perspicuous or accurately 
imprinted if it is uncertain whether the mental 
experience is true or unfounded ? In this way 
neither colour nor sohdity nor truth nor argument nor 

35 '^ensationnoranythingperspicuousisleft. Thisiswhy 'Prob- 
it is their usual experience that, whatever they say, fs^uJgiess 
some people ask them * Then anyway you do per- guesa-work. 
ceive that, do you ? ' But they laugh at those who 
put this question ; for their effort is not aimed at 
proving that it cannot ever happen that a man may 
make a positive assertion about a thing without there 
being some definite and peculiar mark attached to 
the thing that he in particular professes to accept. 
What then is the probability that your school talk 
about ? For if what a particular person happens to 
encounter, and almost at first glance thinks probable, 
is accepted as certain, what could be more frivolous 

36 tlian that ? While if they assert that they foUow a 
sense-presentation after some circumspection and 
careful consideration, nevertheless they will not find 
a way out, first because presentations that have no 
difference between them are all of them equally 
refused credence ; secondly, when they say that it 
can happen to the wise man that after he has taken 
every precaution and explored the position most 
carefully something may yet arise that while appear- 
ing to resemble truth is really very far remote from 
truth, they will be unable to trust tliemselves, evcn 
if they advance at all events a large part of the way, 



dicere, ad verum ipsum aut quam proxime accedant, 
confidere sibi poterunt. Ut enim confidant, notum 
iis esse debebit insigne veri, quo obscurato^ et op- 
presso quod tandem verum sibi videbuntur attingere ? 
Quid autem tam absurde dici potest quam cum ita 
loquuntur, * Est hoc quidem illius rei signum aut 
argumentum, et ea re id sequor, sed fieri potest ut id 
quod significatur aut falsum sit aut nihil sit omnino ' ? 
Sed de perceptione hactenus ; si quis enim ea quae 
dicta sunt labefactare volet, facile etiam absentibus 
nobis veritas se ipsa defendet. 

37 XII. " His satis cognitis quae iam expUcata sunt, 
nunc de adsensione atque adprobatione, quam Graeci 
a-vyKaraO^cTiv vocant, pauca dicemus — non quo non 
latus locus sit, sed paulo ante iacta sunt fundamenta. 
Nam cum vim quae esset in sensibus explicabamus, 
simul illud aperiebatur, comprendi multa et percipi 
sensibus, quod fieri sine adsensione non potest. 
Deinde cum inter inanimum et animal hoc maxime 
intersit quod animal agit aliquid (nihil enim agens 
ne cogitari quidem potest quale sit), aut ei sensus 
adimendus est aut ea quae est in nostra potestate sita 

38 reddenda adsensio. At vero animus quodam modo 
eripitur iis quos neque sentire neque adsentiri volunt ; 
ut enim necesse est lancem in hbra^ ponderibus im- 

^ Lambinus : obscuro codd. 
* libram codd. nonnulli. 

<* i.e.f difFerent from what it seems. 

^ i.e., the mental acceptnnce of a sensation as tnily rcpre- 
senting the object ; c/. i. 40. * § 20. 


ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xi.— xii. 

as they are in the habit of saying, towards the actual 
truth, or indeed come as near to it as possible. For to 
enable them to trust their judgement, it wiW be neccs- 
sary for the characteristic mark of truth to be known 
to them, and if this be obscured and suppressed, what 
truth pray will they suppose that they attain to ? 
What language moreover could be more absurd than 
their formula, ' It is true that this is a token or a 
proof of yonder object, and therefore I follow it, but 
it is possible that the object that it indicates may be 
either false ° or entirely non-existent ' ? But enough 
on the subject of perception ; for if anybody desires 
to upset the doctrines stated, truth will easily conduct 
her own defence, even if we dechne the brief. 

37 XII. " Now that we are sufficiently acquainted (4) Cer- 
with the matters already unfolded, let us say a few J^ee"d,rd^for 
words on the subject of * assent ' ^ or approval action : 
(termed in Greek syncatathesis) — not that it is not a pSomena 
wide topic, but the foundations have been laid a Httle underiies 
time back. For while we were explaining ^ the power conduct. 
residing in the senses, it was at the same time dis- 
closed that many things are grasped and perceived 

by the senses, which cannot happen without the act 
of assent. Again, as the greatest difference between 
an inanimate and an animate object is that an ani- 
mate object performs some action (for an entirely 
inactive animal is an utterly inconceivable thing), 
either it must be denied the possession of sensation 
or it must be assigned a faculty of assenting as a 

38 voluntary act. But on the other hand persons who 
refuse to exercise eitlier sensation or assent are in a 
manner robbed of the mind itself ; for as the scale of 
a balance must necessarily sink when weights are 
put in it, so the mind must necessarily yield to clear 



positis deprimi, sic animum perspicuis cedere : nam 
quo modo non potest animal ullum non adpetere id 
quod aecommodatum ad naturam adpareat (Graeci id 
oLKclov appellant), sic non potest obiectam rem per- 
spicuam non adprobare. Quamquam, si illa de quibus 
disputatum est vera sunt, nihil attinet de adsensione 
omnino loqui ; qui enim quid percipit adsentitur 
statim. Sed haec etiam sequuntur, nec memoriam 
sine adsensione posse constare nec notitias rerum nec 
artes ; idque quod maximum est, ut sit aliquid in 
nostra potestate, in eo qui rei nulli adsentietur non 
erit : ubi igitur virtus, si nihil situm est in ipsis 

39 nobis ? Maxime autem absurdum vitia in ipsorum 
esse potestate neque peccare quemquam nisi adsen- 
sione, hoc idem in virtute non esse, cuius omnis con- 
stantia et firmitas ex iis rebus constat quibus adsensa 
est et quas adprobavit. Omninoque ante videri 
aliquid quam agamus necesse est eique quod visum 
sit adsentiatur.i Quare qui aut visum aut adsensum 
tolUt, is omnem actionem tollit e vita. 

40 XIII. " Nunc ea \ddeamus quae contra ab his 
disputari solent. Sed prius potestis totius eorum 
rationis quasi fundamenta cognoscere. Componunt 
igitur primum artem quandam de iis quae visa 
dicimus, eorumque et vim et genera definiunt, in his 
quale sit id quod percipi et comprendi possit, totidem 
verbis quot Stoici. Deinde illa exponunt duo quae 

^ adsentiamur Davies : adsentiri Lamhinns. 

" See § 30 n. » See i. 32 n. 

* Quasi nniarks a tentative rendering of defi^Xioi as 
does quandam just below one of Tix^-q (pavraaLQv ; and 
apparently also quasi contineant renders some other Greek 
teclmical terni, pr rhaps awex^i-v ; cf. §§ 20, 107. 

^ Id , , , possit = T6 KaTaXrjTTTov. 


ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xii. — xiii. 

presentations : since just as no animal can refrain 
from seeking to get a thing that is presented to its 
view as suited to its nature (the Greeks term it 
oikeion)j so the mind cannot refrain from giving 
approval to a clear object when presented to it. 
Nevertheless, assuming the truth of the positions 
discussed, all talk whatever about assent is beside 
the mark ; for he who perceives anything assents 
immediately. But there also follow " the points that 
without assent memory, and mental concepts of 
objects, and sciences, are impossible ; and most im- 
portant of all, granting that some freedom of the will 
exists, none will exist in one who assents to nothing ; 
where then is virtue, if nothing rests with ourselves? 

39 And what is most absurd is that men's vices shoukl be 
in their own power and that nobody should sin except 
with assent, but that the same should not be true 
in the case of virtue, whose sole consistency and 
strength is constituted by the things to which it has 
given its assent and so to say approval.^ And speak- 
ing generally, before we act it is essential for us to 
experience some presentation, and for our assent 
to be given to the presentation ; therefore one who 
abohshes either presentation or assent abohshes all 
action out of Hfe. 

40 XIII. Now let us examine the arguments usually (5) The New 
advanced by this school on the other side. But before ^'eoly"^''' 
that, this is an opportunity for you to learn the expounded : 
' foundations ' ^ of their whole system. Well, they uons^areta. 
beffin by constructing a ' science of presentations ' distinguish- 

o ir able from 

(as we render the term), and define their nature and faise ones, 
classes, and in particular the nature of that which can f^ percep- 

.11 1 j 111 ^'*^" cannot 

be perceived and grasped,*^ at as great a length as do le trusted. 
the Stoics. Then they set out tlie two propositions 



quasi contineant omnem hanc quaestionem : quae 
ita \ideantur ut etiam alia eodem modo \dderi possint 
nec in iis quicquam intersit, non posse eorum alia 
percipi, alia non percipi ; nihil interesse autem, non 
modo si omni ex parte eiusdem modi sint, sed etiam 
si discerni non possint. Quibus positis unius argu- 
menti conclusione tota ab iis causa comprenditur ; 
composita autem ea conclusio sic est : ' Eorum quae 
videntur aUa vera sunt, aha falsa ; et quod falsum 
est id percipi non potest. Quod autem verum visum 
est id omne tale est ut eiusdem modi falsum etiam 
possit videri ; et quae \"isa sunt^ eius modi ut in iis 
nihil intersit, non potest^ accidere ut eorum alia 
percipi possint, aha non possint. Nullum igitur est 
41 visum quod percipi possit.' Quae autem sumunt ut 
concludant id quod volunt, ex his duo sibi putant 
concedi, neque enim quisquam repugnat : ea sunt 
haec, quae visa falsa sint, ea percipi non posse, et 
alterum, inter quae visa nihil intersit, ex iis non 
posse aha talia esse ut percipi possint, aha ut non 
possint. ReUqua vero multa et varia oratione de- 
fendunt, quae sunt item duo, unum, quae videantur, 
eorum aUa vera esse, aUa falsa, alterum, omne visum 

^ edd. : sint codd. ^ edd. : posse codd. 

" Two objects entirely aUke, A' and A", present the same 
appearance a ; but so also do two objects only superficiaUy 
alike — thoii^h not really aUke entirely, they are indistinguish- 
able by the senses : X and Y both present the same appear- 
ance x. We may have the presentation x and think it comes 
from X when it reaUy comes from Y, X not being; there : in 
this case we do not perceive X. Therefore when we have the 
presentation x and think it comes from X and X is there, 
we cannot be said to perceive X. Therefore perception ia 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xiii. 

that ' hold together ' the whole of this investigation, 
namely, (1) when certain objects present an appear- 
ance of such a kind that other objects also could 
present the same appearance without there being 
any difference between these presentations, it is im- 
possible that the one set of objects should be capable 
of being perceived and the other set not capable ; 
but (2), not only in a case in which they are ahke in 
every particular is there no difference between them, 
but also in a case in which they cannot be distin- 
guished apart. Having set out these propositions, 
they include the whole issue M-ithin a single syllo- 
gistic argument ; this argument is constructed as 
follows : ' Some presentations are true, others false ; 
and what is false cannot be perceived. But a true 
presentation is invariably of such a sort that a false 
presentation also could be of exactly the same sort ; 
and among presentations of such a sort that there 
is no difference between them, it cannot occur that 
some are capable of being perceived and others are 
not. Therefore there is no presentation that is 
41 capable of being perceived.'" Now of the proposi- 
tions that they take as premisses from which to infer 
the desired conclusion, two they assume to be granted, 
and indeed nobody disputes them : these are, that 
false presentations cannot be perceived, and the 
second, that of presentations that have no difference 
between them it is impossible that some should be 
such as to be capable of being perceived and others 
such as to be incapable. But the remaining pre- 
misses they defend with a long and varied discourse, 
these also being two, one, that of the objects of pre- 
sentations some are true, others false, and the other, 
that every presentation arising from a true object is 



quod sit a vero tale esse quale etiam a falso possit 

42 esse. Haec duo proposita non praetervolant, sed ita 
dilatant ut non mediocrem curam adhibeant et dili- 
gentiam ; dividunt enim in partes, et eas quidem 
magnas, primum in sensus, deinde in ea quae ducun- 
tur a sensibus et ab omni consuetudine, quam ob- 
scurari volunt, tum perveniunt ad eam partem ut ne 
ratione quidem et coniectura ulla res percipi possit. 
Haec autem universa concidunt etiam minutius ; 
ut enim de sensibus hesterno sermone vidistis, item 
faciunt de reliquis, in singulisque rebus, quas in 
minima dispertiunt, volunt efficere iis omnibus quae 
visa sint veris adiuncta esse falsa quae a veris nihil 
differant ; ea cum talia sint, non posse comprendi. 

43 XIV. " Hanc ego subtihtatem philosophia quidem 
dignissimam iudico sed ab eorum causa qui ita 
disserunt remotissimam. Definitiones enim et par- 
titiones, et horum luminibus utens oratio, tum 
simihtudines dissimilitudinesque et earum tenuis et 
acuta distinctio fidentium est hominum illa vera et 
firma et certa esse quae tutentur, non eorum qui 
clament nihilo magis vera iUa esse quam falsa. Quid 
enim agant si, cum aUquid definierint, roget eos 
quispiam num illa definitio possit in aham rem trans- 
ferri quamlubet ? Si posse dixerint, quid dicere 
Imbeant cur illa vera definitio sit ? si negaverint, 
fatendum sit, quoniam vel illa vera definitio transferri 

° Luminaf a technical term of rhetoric, used to translate 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xiii.— xiv. 

of such a nature that it could also arise from a false 
t2 object. These two propositions they do not skim 
over, but develop with a considerable apphcation of 
care and industry ; they divide them into sections, 
and those of wide extent : first, sensations ; next, 
inferences from sensations and from general ex- 
perience, which they deem to lack clarity ; then 
they come to the section proving the impossibiUty of 
perceiving anything even by means of reasoning and 
inference. These general propositions they cut up 
into still smaller divisions, employing the same 
method with all the other topics as you saw in 
yesterday's discourse that they do with sensation, 
and aiming at proving in the case of each subject, 
minutely subdivided, that all true presentations 
are coupled with false ones in no way differing from 
the true, and that this being the nature of sense- 
presentations, to comprehend them is impossible. 
13 XIV. " In my own judgement this minuteness al- (6)Pre- 
though no doubt highly worthy of philosophy is at crlV/S of 
the same time absolutely remote from the position the New 
of the authors of this Hne of argument. For definitions it m-^"^^ ' 
and partitions, and language employing figures ** ^f J^}.'^^?^^.^^ 
this class, as also comparisons and distinctions and and 
their subtle and minute classification, are the weapons r^*s<^"'"S. 
of persons who are confident that the doctrines they 
are defending are true and established and certain, not 
of those who loudly proclaim that they are no more 
true than false. For what would they do if, when they 
have defined something, somebody were to ask them 
whether that particular defimtion can be carried over 
to any other thing you hke ? If they say it can, 
what proof could they put forward that the definition 
is true ? if they say it cannot, they woukl have to 



non possit in falsum, quod ea definitione explicetui 
id percipi posse, quod minime illi volunt. Eadem 
44 dici poterunt in omnibus partibus. Si enim dicent ea 
de quibus disserent se dilucide perspicere, nec ulla 
communione visorum impediri, comprendere ea se 
posse fatebuntur. Sin autem negabunt vera visa a 
falsis posse distingui, qui poterunt longius progredi ? 
occurretur enim sicut occursum est ; nam concludi 
argumentum non potest nisi iis quae ad concludendum 
sumpta erunt ita probatis ut falsa eiusdem modi 
nulla possint esse : ergo si rebus comprensis et 
perceptis nisa et progressa ratio hoc efRciet, nihil 
posse comprendi, quid potest reperiri quod ipsum 
sibi repugnet magis ? Cumque ipsa natura accu- 
ratae orationis hoc profiteatur, se ahquid patefac- 
turam quod non appareat et quo id facihus adsequatur 
adhibituram et sensus et ea quae perspicua sint, 
quahs est istorum oratio qui omnia non tam esse 
quam videri volunt ? Maxime autem convincuntur 
cum haec duo pro congruentibus sumunt tam vehe- 
menter repugnantia, primum esse quaedam falsa 
visa, quod cum volunt declarant quaedam esse vera, 
deinde ibidem inter falsa visa et vera nihil interesse : 

• i.e.t a thing misconceived (not ' an unreal thing '). 
*» Cf. § 34 iniL 


ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xiv. 

admit that, since even this true definition cannot be 
apphed to a false object,'^ the object explained by the 
delinition can be perceived, and this they will not 
allow at any price. The same argument it will be 
possible to employ at every section of the discussion. 
44 For if they say that they can see through the matters 
that they are discussing with complete clearness, and 
are not hampered by any overlapping ^ of presenta- 
tions, they will confess that they can ' comprehend ' 
them. But if they maintain that true presentations 
cannot be distinguished from false ones, how will they 
be able to advance any further ? for they will be 
met as they were met before ; since vaUd inference is 
not possible unless you accept the propositions taken 
as premisses as so fully proved that there cannot 
possibly be any false propositions that resemble 
them : therefore if a process of reasoning that has 
carried through its procedure on the basis of things 
grasped and perceived arrives at the conclusion 
that nothing can be grasped, what more self- 
destructive argument could be discovered ? And 
when the very nature of accurate discourse professes 
the intention of reveaUng something that is not 
apparent, and of employing sensations and manifest 
presentations to faciUtate the attainment of this 
result, what are we to make of the language of these 
thinkers who hold that everything does not so much 
exist as seem to exist ? But they are most completely 
refuted when they assume as mutually consistent 
these two propositions that are so violently discrepant, 
first, that some presentations are false, a view that 
clearly impUes that some are true, and then in the 
same breath that there is no difference between false 
presentations and true ones : but your first assump- 



at primuin sumpseras tamquam interesset — ita 
priori posterius, posteriori superius non iungitur. 

46 " Sed progrediamur longius et ita agamus ut nihil 
nobis adsentati esse videamur ; quaeque ab his 
dicuntur sic persequamur ut nihil in praeteritis 
reUnquamus. Primum igitur perspicuitas illa quam 
diximus satis magnam habet vim ut ipsa per sese ea 
quae sint nobis ita ut sint indicet. Sed tamen ut 
maneamus in perspicuis firmius et constantius, maiore 
quadam opus est vel arte vel dihgentia ne ab iis 
quae clara sint ipsa per sese quasi praestigiis quibus- 
dam et captionibus depellamur. Nam qui voluit sub- 
venire erroribus Epicurus^ iis qui videntur conturbare 
veri cognitionem, dixitque sapientis esse opinionem 
a perspicuitate seiungere, nihil profecit, ipsius enim 
opinionis errorem nullo modo sustuHt. 

46 XV. " Quam ob rem cum duae causae perspicuis 
et evidentibus rebus adversentur, auxiha totidem 
sunt contra comparanda. Adversatur enim primum 
quod parum defigunt animos et intendunt in ea 
quae perspicua sunt ut quanta luce ea circumfusa 
sint possint agnoscere ; alterum est quod fallacibus 
et captiosis interrogationibus circumscripti atque 
decepti quidam, cum eas dissolvere non possunt, 
desciscunt a veritate. Oportet igitur et ea quae pro 
perspicuitate responderi possunt in promptu habere, 

^ [Epicurus] Baiier. 

" Quasi quihvsdam mark praestigiis as a translation of 
<ro(piafMaTa, paraphrased by captionibus. 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xiv.— xv. 

tion implied that there is a difference — thiis 3'our 
major premiss and your minor are inconsistent with 
one another. 

45 " But let us advance further and proceed in such From sense- 
a manner as not to appear to have been unduly feason'^'^^ 
partial to our owti \-iews ; and let us go through evoives 
the doctrines of these thinkers so thoroughly as to ^°^ ^ ^*" 
leave nothing passed over. First then what we have 
termed ' perspicuity ' has sufficient force of itself to §17. 
indicate to us things that are as they are. But never- 
theless, so that we may abide by things that are 
perspicuous with more firmness and constancy, we 
require some further exercise of method or of atten- 

tion to save ourselves from being dislodged by 
' trickeries ' ^* and captious arguments from positions 
that are clear in themselves. For Epicurus who 
desired to come to the relief of the errors that 
appear to upset our pow er of knowing the truth, and 
who said that the separation of opinion from per- 
spicuous truth was the function of the wise man, 
carried matters no further, for he entirely failed to 
do away with the error connected with mere opinion. 

46 XV. " Therefore inasmuch as things perspicuous (7) Logical 
and evident are encountered by two obstacles, it is [he^New^' 
necessary to array against them the same number Academy : 
of assistances. The hrst obstacle is that people do ^ ^ ^^ '^- 
not fix and concentrate their minds on the perspicuous 
objects enough to be able to recognize in how much 

hght they are enveloped ; the second is that certain 
persons, being entrapped and taken in by fallacious 
and captious arguments, when they are unable to 
refute them abandon the truth. It is therefore neces- 
sary to have ready the counter-arguments, of which 
we have ahready spoken, that can be advanced in 



de quibus iam diximus, et esse armatos ut occurrere 
possimus interrogationibus eorum captionesque dis- 

47 cutere, quod deinceps facere constitui. Exponam 
igitur generatim argumenta eorum, quoniam ipsi 
etiam illi solent non confuse loqui. Primum conantur 
ostendere multa posse videri esse quae omnino nulla 
sint, cum animi inaniter moveantur eodem modo 
rebus iis quae nuUae sint ut iis quae sint. Nam cum 
dicatis, inquiunt, visa quaedam mitti a deo, velut ea 
quae in somnis videantur quaeque oraculis, auspiciis, 
extis declarentur (haec enim aiunt probari Stoicis 
quos contra disputant), quaerunt quonam modo falsa 
visa quae sint ea deus efficere possit probabilia, quae 
autem plane proxime ad verum accedant efficere non 
possit, aut si ea quoque possit, cur. illa non possit 
quae perdifficiliter,^ internoscantur tamen, et si haec, 

48 cur non inter quae nihil sit^ omnino. Deinde cum 
mens moveatur ipsa per sese, ut et ea declarant quae 
cogitatione depingimus et ea quae vel dormientibus 
vel furiosis videntur non numquam, veri simile est 
sic etiam mentem moveri ut non modo non inter- 
noscat vera illa visa sint anne falsa sed ut in iis nihil 
intersit omnino : ut si qui tremerent et exalbescerent 
vel ipsi per se motu mentis ahquo vel obiecta terribili 

* perdifficiliter <internoscantur> ? Reid. 
* intersit Muller. 


ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xv. 

defence of perspicuity, and to be armed so that we 
mav be able to meet their arguments and shalter 
their captions ; and this I have decided on as my 

47 next step. I will therefore set out their arguments 
in classified form, since even they themselves make a 
practice of orderly exposition. They first attempt 
to show the possibihty that many things may appear 
to exist that are absolutely non-existent, since the 
mind is deceptively affected by non-existent objects 
in the same manner as it is affected by real ones. For, 
they say, when your school asserts that some presenta- 
tions are sent by the deity — dreams for example, and 
the revelations furnished by oracles, auspices and 
sacrifices (for they assert that the Stoics against whom 
they are arguing accept these manifestations) — how 
possibly, they ask, can the deity have the power to 
render false presentations probable and not have 
the power to render probable those which approxi- 
mate absolutely most closely to the truth ? or 
else, if he is able to render these also probable, 
why cannot he render probable those which are dis- 
tinguishable, although only with extreme difficulty, 
from false presentations ? and if these, why not 

48 those which do not differ from them at all ? Then, 
since the mind is capable of entirely self-originated 
motion, as is manifest by our faculty of mental im- 
agination and by the visions that sometimes appearto 
men either when asleep or mad, it is probable that the 
mind may also be set in motion in such a manner that 
not only it cannot distinguish whether the presenta- 
tions in question are true or false but that there really 
is no difference at all between them : just as if people 
were to shiver and turn pale either of themselves as 
a result of some mental emotion or in consequence 



re extrinsecus, nihil ut esset qui distingueretur tremor 
ille et pallor neque ut quicquam interesset inter 
intestinum et oblatum. Postremo si nulla visa sunt 
probabilia quae falsa sint, alia ratio est ; sin autem 
sunt, cur non etiam quae non facile internoscantur ? 
cur non ut plane nihil intersit ? praesertim cura 
ipsi dicatis sapientem in furore sustinere se ab omni 
adsensu quia nulla in visis distinctio appareat. 
49 XVI. " Ad has omnes visiones inanes Antiochus 
quidem et permulta dicebat et erat de hac una re 
unius diei disputatio ; mihi autem non idem facien- 
dimi puto, sed ipsa capita dicenda. Et primum qui- 
dem hoc reprehendendum quod captiosissimo genere 
interrogationis utuntur, quod genus minime in philo- 
sophia probari solet, cum aUquid minutatim et gra- 
datim additur aut demitur. Soritas hoc vocant, quia 
acervum efficiunt uno addito grano. Vitiosum sane 
et captiosum genus ! Sic enim adscenditis : ' Si tale 
visum obiectum est a deo dormienti ut probabile sit, 
cur non etiam ut valde veri simile ? cur deinde non 
ut difficiUter a vero internoscatur ? deinde ut ne 
internoscatur quidem ? postremo ut nihil inter hoc 

" Apparently the teclinical term is jestingly used to de- 
scribe the arguments just summarized. 

*» aojpeirris avXKoyiafjios, the conclusion of one syllogism 
forming the major premiss of the next. Each step may 
either add a smaU point, as in the example above, or sub- 
tract one, as in the practical illustration of the fallacy that 
gave it its name {ratio ruentis acerui, Horace) : from a heap 
of grain one grain at a time is taken away — at what point 
does it cease to be a heap ? 


ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xv.— x\i. 

of encountering some terrifying external object, with 
nothing to distinguish between the two kinds of 
shivering and pallor, and without any diflerence be- 
tween the internal state of feeling and the one that 
came from without. Lastly, if no false presentations 
at all are probable, it is another story ; but if some are, 
why are not even those that are diificult to dis- 
tinguish ? why not those that are so much hke true 
ones that there is absolutely no difference between 
them ? especially as you yourselves say that the wise 
man when in a state of frenzy restrains himself from 
all assent because no distinction between presenta- 
tions is visible to him. 
49 XVI. " In answer to all these * unfounded sense- These 
presentations ' <» Antiochus indeed used to advance a g^poged^ 
great many arguments, and also he used to devote one the ditfer- 
whole day's debate to this single topic ; but I do not between 
think that I had better do the same, but state merelv [^^^^ ^""^^, 

* T /> • * ^^^^ sensa 

the heads of the argument. And as a nrst pomt one tious. 
must criticize them for employing an exceedingly 
captious kind of argument, of a sort that is usually by 
no means approved of in philosophy — the method of 
proceeding by minute steps of gradual addition or 
withdrawal. They call this class of arguments soritae ^ 
because by adding a single grain at a time they make 
a heap. It is certainly an erroneous and captious 
kind of argument ! for you go on mounting up in 
this way : ' If a presentation put by the deity before 
a man asleep is of such a character that it is probable, 
why not also of such a cliaracter that it is extremely 
Hke a true one ? then, why not such that it can with 
difficulty be distinguished from a true one ? then, 
that it cannot even be distingui^^hed ? finally, that 
there is no difference between the one and the other ? * 



et illud intersit ? ' Huc si perveneris me tibi primum 
quidque concedente, meum vitium fuerit ; sin ipse 

50 tua sponte processeris, tuum. Quis enim tibi dederit 
aut omnia deum posse aut ita facturum esse si possit ? 
quo modo autem sumis ut, si quid cui simile esse 
possit, sequatur ut etiam difficiliter internosci possit ? 
deinde, ut ne internosci quidem ? postremo, ut 
eadem sint ? ut, si lupi canibus similes, eosdem dices 
ad extremum. Et quidem honestis similia sunt 
quaedam non honesta et bonis non bona et artificiosis 
minime artificiosa ; quid dubitamus igitur adfirmare 
nihil inter haec interesse ? Ne repugnantia quidem 
videmus ? nihil est enim quod de suo genere in aliud 
genus transferri possit. At si efficeretur ut inter visa 
difFerentium generum nihil interesset, reperirentur 
quae et in suo genere essent et in aUeno ; quod fieri 

61 qui potest ? Omnium deinde inanium visorum una 
depulsio est, sive illa cogitatione informantur, quod 
fieri solere concedimus, sive in quiete sive per vinum 
sive per insaniam : nam ab omnibus eiusdem modi 
visis perspicuitatem, quam mordicus tenere debemus, 
abesse dicemus. Quis enim, cum sibi fingit aliquid 
et cogitatione depingit, non simul ac se ipse com- 
movit atque ad se revocavit sentit quid intersit inter 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xvi. 

If you reach this conclusion owlng to my yielding to 
you each successive step, the fault will have been 
mine ; but if you get there of your ov,n accord, it 

60 will be yours. For who will have granted you either 
that the deity is omnipotent, or that even if he can 
do as described he will } and how do you make such 
assumptions that, if it is possible for .r to resemble 
t/, it will follow that only with difficulty can x and z/ 
be known apart ? and then, that they cannot even 
be known apart ? and finally, that they are identical ? 
for example, if wolves are hke dogs, you will end by 
saying that they are identicak And it is a fact that 
some honourable things are hke dishonourable ones 
and some good things hke not good ones and some 
artistic things hke inartistic ones ; why do we hesi- 
tate therefore to aver that there is no difference 
between these ? Have we no eye even for incon- 
gruities ? for there is nothing that cannot be carried 
over from its own class into anothcr class. But if it 
were proved that there is no diaerence between 
presentations of different classes, we should find pre- 
sentations that belonged both to their own class and 
to one foreign to them ; how can this possibly occur ? 

61 Consequently there is only one way of routing the 
difficulty about unreal presentations, whether de- 
picted by the imagination, which we admit frequently 
to take place, or in slumber or under the influence of 
N^ine or of insanity : we shall declare that all pre- 
sentations of this nature are devoid of perspicuity, 
to which we are bound to chng tooth and naih For 
who when feigning to himself an imaginary picture 
of some object, the moment he bestirs himself and 
recalls his self-consciousness does not at once per- 
cei ve the difference betweenperspicuous presentations 



perspicua et inania ? Eadem ratio est somnioruni. 
Num censes Ennium cum in hortis cum Servio Galba 
vicino suo ambulavisset dixisse : ' Visus sum mihi 
cum Galba ambulare ' ? At cum somniavit, ita 
narravit : 

visus Homerus adesse poeta. 
Idemque in Epicharmo : 

Nam videbar somniare med ego esse mortuom. 

Itaque simul ut experrecti sumus visa illa contemni- 
mus neque ita habemus ut ea quae in foro gessimus. 
62 XVII. " At enim dum videntur eadem est in 
somnis species eorumque^ quae vigilantes videmus ! 
Primum interest ; sed id omittamus, illud enim dici- 
mus, non eandem esse vim neque integritatem dor- 
mientium et vigilantium nec mente nec sensu. Ne 
vinulenti quidem quae faciunt eadem adprobatione 
faciunt qua sobrii : dubitant, haesitant, revocant se 
interdum, iisque quae videntur imbecilHus adsen- 
tiuntur cumque edormiverunt illa visa quam levia 
fuerint intellegunt. Quod idem contingit insanis, ut 
et incipientes furere sentiant et dicant ahquid quod 
non sit id videri sibi, et cum relaxentur sentiant atque 
illa dicant Alcmaeonis : 

^ Hermann : eoriim codd. 

« The Italian Greek (239-169 b.c.) who initiated Latin 
poetry in Greek metres. He adapted Attic tragedies, e.g. 
Alcmaeon, quoted §§ 52, 89, and wrote Roman ones; but his 
greatest work was Annales, an epic of Roman history from 
which comes the part of a hexameter quoted. Cf. § 88. 

* The chief Dorian comic poet, c. 540-450 b.c, hved at 
Hiero's court at Syracuse. 

' The character in Ennius's tragedy : see § 51 n. and § 89. 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xvi. — xvii. 

and unreal ones ? The same applies to dreams. 
Do yoii fancy that whcn Enniiis ° had been walking 
in his grounds with his neighbour Servius Galba he 
used to say, ' Mcthought I was walking with Galba' ? 
But when he had a dream he told the story in this 
way : 

Methought the poet Homer stood beside me. 
And the same in the case of Epicharmus ^ : 

For methought I had a dream that I myself was dead and 

And so as soon as we wake up we make hght of that 
kind of \isions, and do not deem them on a par \vith 
the actual experiences that we had in the forum. 

XVn. " But you will say that at the time when 
we are experiencing them the visions we have in 
sleep have the same appearance as the visual pre- 
sentations that we experience while awake ! To 
begin with, there is a difference between them ; but 
do not let us dwell on that, for our point is that when 
we are asleep we have not the same mental or 
sensory power and fulness of function as we have 
when awake. Even men acting under the influence 
of wine do not act with the same decision as they 
do when sober : they are doubtful and hesitating 
and sometimes pull themselves up, and they give a 
more feeble assent to their sense-presentations and, 
when they have slept it ofF, reahze how unsubstantial 
those presentations were. The same happens to the 
insane : at the beginning of their attack they are 
conscious that they are mad, and say that something 
is appearing to them that is not real ; and also when 
the attack is subsiding they are conscious of it, and 
say things hke the words of Alcmaeon '^ : 



Sed mihi ne utiquam cor consentit cum oculorum 

63 At enim ipse sapiens sustinet se in furore ne ad- 
probet falsa pro veris. Et alias quidem saepe, si 
aut in sensibus ipsius^ est aliqua forte gravitas aut 
tarditas, aut obscuriora sunt quae videntur, aut a 
perspiciendo temporis brevitate excluditur. Quam- 
quam totum hoc, sapientem aliquando sustinere 
adsensionem, contra vos est ; si enim inter visa nihil 
interesset, aut semper sustineret aut numquam. 
Sed ex hoc genere toto perspici potest levitas orationis 
eorum, qui omnia cupiunt confundere. Quaerimus 
gravitatis, constantiae, firmitatis, sapientiae iudicium, 
utimur exemplis somniantium, furiosorum, ebrio- 
sorum. Illud attendimus in hoc omni genere quam 
inconstanter loquamur ? Non enim proferremus vino 
aut somno oppressos aut mente captos tam absurde 
ut tum diceremus interesse inter vigilantium visa et 
sobriorum et sanorum et eorum qui essent aliter ad- 

64 fecti, tum nihil interesse. Ne hoc quidem cernunt, 
omnia se reddere incerta, quod nolunt (ea dico in- 
certa quae aSrjka Graeci) ? si enim res se ita habeant 
ut nihil intersit utrum ita cui videantur^ ut insano 
an sano, cui possit exploratum esse de sua sanitate ? 

^ ipsis ? Reid, - ed. : videatur codd. 


ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xvii. 

But my mind agrees in no way with the vision of my 

53 But you will say that the \vise man in an attack of 
madness restrains himself from accepting false pre- 
sentations as true. So indeed he often does on other 
occasions, if his own senses happen to contain an 
element of heaviness or slo^\Tiess, or if the presenta- 
tions are rather obscure, or if he is debarred by lack 
of time from a close scrutiny. Although this ad- 
mission, that the ^vise man sometimes withholds his 
assent, goes wholly against your school ; for if pre- 
sentations were indistinguishable, he would either 
withhold his assent always or never. But out of all 
this what is ' perspicuous ' is the lack of substance in 
the case put by these thinkers, who aspire to intro- 
duce universal confusion. What we are looking for 
is a canon of judgement proper to dignity and con- 
sistency, to firmness and \Wsdom, what we find are 
instances taken from dreamers, lunatics and drunk- 
ards. Do we notice in all this department how in- 
consistent that talk is ? If we did, we should not 
bring forward people who are tipsy or fast asleep or 
out of their minds in such a ridiculous fashion as at 
one moment to say that there is a difference between 
the presentations of the waking and sober and sane 
and of those in other conditions, and at another 

>4 moment to say that there is no difference. Do they (S) Finai 
not even see that they make everything uncertain — of'the New 
a position which they repudiate (I use ' uncertain ' Academy. 
to translate the Greek adela) ? for if objects are so 
constituted that it makes no difFerence whether they 
appear to anybody as they do to a madman or as they 
do to a sane person, who can be satisfied of his own 
sanity ? to desire to produce this state of afFairs is in 



quod velle efficere non mediocris insaniae est. Simili- 
tudines vero aut geminorura aut signorum anulis 
impressorum pueriliter consectantur. Quis enim 
nostrum similitudines negat esse, cum eae plurimis 
in rebus appareant ? sed si satis est ad tollendam 
cognitionem similia esse multa multorum, cur eo non 
estis contenti, praesertim concedentibus nobis, et 
cur id potius contenditis quod rerum natura non 
patitur, ut non in^ suo quidque genere sit tale quale 
est nec sit in duobus aut pluribus nulla re differens 
ulla communitas ? Ut si^ sint et ova ovorum et apes 
apium simillimae, quid pugnas igitur ? Aut quid tibi 
vis in geminis ? conceditur enim similes esse, quo 
contentus esse potueras : tu autem vis eosdem plane 
55 esse, non similes, quod fieri nullo modo potest. Dein 
confugis ad physicos, eos qui maxime in Academia 
inridentur, a quibus ne tu quidem iam te abstinebis, 
et ais Democritum dicere innumerabiles esse mundos, 
et quidem sic quosdam inter sese non solum similes 
sed undique perfecte et absolute pares' ut inter eos 
nihil prorsus intersit [et eo* quidem innumerabiles],' 
itemque homines. Deinde postulas ut, si mundus 
ita sit par alteri mundo ut inter eos ne minimum qui- 
dem intersit, concedatur tibi ut in hoc quoque nostro 
mundo ahquid ahcui sic sit par ut nihil differat, nihil 

* non in Ilalm : non codd, ^ si Miiller : sibi codd. 

^ pares Christ : ita pares codd. 
* eos edd. ^ secl. Halm. 

*• Ut non depends on both contenditis and non patitur and 
introduces both sit tale quale est and nec sit ulla communitas. 
The assertion refuted by nature is that uniqueness and 
heterogeneity are not universal {nulla re differen^ rer.ders 
dot'i0o/)os, and communitas iTrifxi^ia or dTrapaWa^fa, 'urdis- 
tinguishableness,' c/. § 34). 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xvii. 

itself no inconsiderable mark of insanity. But the 
way in wliich they harp on cases of resemblance 
between twins or between the seals stamped by 
signet-rings is childish. For which of us denies that 
resemblances exist, since they are manifest in ever 
so many things ? but if the fact that many things are 
hke niany other things is enough to do away with 
knowledge, why are you not content with that, 
especially as we admit it, and why do you prefer to 
urge a contention utterly excluded by the nature of 
things, denying that everything is what it is in a 
class of its own and that two or more objects never 
possess a common character ditfering in nothing at 
all ° ? For example , granting that eggs are extremely 
hke eggs and bees hke bees, wliy therefore do you 
do battle ? Or what are you at in this matter of 
twins ? for it is granted that two twins are ahke, 
and that might have satisfied you ; but you want 
them to be not ahke but downright identical, which 
5 is absolutely impossible. Then you fly for refuge The eariy 
to the natural philosophers, the favourite butts of areout^^of 
ridicule in the Academy, from whom even you can ^Jate. 
no longer keep your hands, and you declare that 
Democritus says that there are a countless number of 
worlds, and what is more that some of them to such 
an extent not merely resemble but completely and 
absolutely match each other in every detail that there 
is positively no difference between them, and that 
the same is true of human beings. Then you demand 
that if one world so completely matches another 
world that there is not even the smallest difference 
between them, it shall be granted to you that in this 
world of ours hkewise some one thing so completely 
matches some other thing that there is no difference 



intersit ; cur enim, inquies, cum ex illis individuis 
unde omnia Democritus gigni adflrmat, in reliquis 
mundis et in iis quidem innumerabilibus innumera- 
biles Q. Lutatii Catuli non modo possint esse sed 
etiam sint, in hoc tanto mundo Catulus alter non 
possit effici ? 

56 XVIII. " Primum quidem me ad Democritum 
vocas ; cui non adsentior potiusque refello propter 
id quod dilucide docetur a politioribus physicis, 
singularum rerum singulas proprietates esse. Fac 
enim antiquos illos Servilios, qui gemini fuerunt, tam 
similes quam dicuntur : num censes etiam eosdem 
fuisse ? Non cognoscebantur foris, at domi ; non ab 
aHenis, at a suis. An non videmus hoc usu venisse* 
ut, quos numquam putassemus a nobis internosci 
posse, eos consuetudine adhibita tam facile inter- 
nosceremus uti ne minimum quidem similes esse 

57 ^iderentur ? Hic pugnes licet, non repugnabo ; 
quin etiam concedam illum ipsum sapientem de quo 
omnis hic sermo est, cum ei res similes occurrant 
quas non habeat dinotatas, retenturum adsensum 
nec umquam uUi \iso adsensurum nisi quod tale 
fuerit quale falsum esse non possit. Sed et ad ceteras 
res habet quandam artem qua vera a falsis possit 
distinguere, et ad similitudines istas usus adhibendus 

^ Davies : venire codd. 

« The Stoics, rf. § 85. 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xvii. — xviii. 

or distinction between them ; for what is the reason, 
you will say, why whereas in the rest of the worlds, 
countless numbers as they are, there not only can 
be but actually are a countless number of Quintus 
Lutatius Catuluses, arisen out of those atoms out of 
which Democritus declares that everything comes into 
existence, yet in this vast world another Catulus 
cannot possibly be produced ? 

6 XVIII. " In the first place indeed you summon me '^J^'"-^» ^°<^ 
before Democritus ; whose opinion I do not accept reaUy*"^* 
but rather reject, on the ground of the fact that is ab£°^^^' 
lucidly proved by more accomplished natural philo- 
sophers," that particular objects possess particular 
properties. For suppose that the famous Servilius 

twins of old days did resemble each other as com- 
pletely as they are said to have done : surely you do 
not think that they were actually identical ? Out of 
doors they were not known apart, but at home they 
were ; they were not by strangers, but they were by 
their own people. Do we not see that it has come 
about that persons whom we thought we should 
never be able to know apart we have come by the 
exercise of habit to know apart so easily that they did 

7 not appear to be even in the least degree ahke ? At 
this point although you may show fight I shall not 
fight back ; indeed I will actually allow that the ^^ise 
man himself who is the subject of all this discussion, 
when he encounters similar things that he has not got 
distinguished apart, will reserve his assent, and will 
never assent to any presentation unless it is of such 
a description as could not belong to a false presenta- 
tion. But just as he has a definite technique apphc- 
able to all other objects to enable him to distinguish 
the true from the false, so to the resemblances you 



est : ut mater geminos internoscit consuetudine 
oculorum, sic tu internosces si adsueveris. Videsne 
ut in proverbio sit ovorum inter se similitudo ? tamen 
hoc accepimus, Deli fuisse complures salvis rebus 
illis qui gallinas alere permultas quaestus causa 
solerent ; ii cum ovum inspexerant, quae id gallina 

58 peperisset dicere solebant. Neque id est contra nos, 
nam nobis satis est ova illa non internoscere, nihil 
enim magis adsentiri par est hoc illud esse quasi^ 
inter illa omnino nihil interesset ; habeo enim re- 
gulam ut taUa visa vera iudicem quaha falsa esse non 
possint ; ab hac mihi non Hcet transversum, ut aiunt, 
digitum discedere, ne confundam omnia. Veri enim 
et falsi non modo cognitio sed etiam natura tolletur 
si nihil erit quod intersit, ut etiam illud absurdum 
sit quodinterdum soletis dicere,cum\isa in animos im- 
primantur, non vos id dicere, inter ipsas impressiones 
nihil interesse, sed inter species et quasdam formas 
eorum. Quasi vero non specie visa iudicentur, quae 
fidem nullam habebunt sublata veri et falsi nota ! 

69 Illud vero perabsurdum quod dicitis probabiha vos 
sequi si nuUa re impediamini. Primum qui potestis 
non impediri cum a veris falsa non distent ? deinde 

-quasi Madvig : quam si codd. 

" Species here combines the sense of ' appearances ' with 
that of ' kinds ' which it still bears in zoology ; it translates 
etdv, and quasdam marks formas as an explanatory 


ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xviii. 

adduce he has to apply practice : just as a mother 
knows her twins apart by having famiharized her eyes, 
so you will know them apart if you habituate your- 
self. Are you aware that the hkcness of one egg to 
another is proverbial ? yet we have been told that 
at Delos at the time of its prosperity a number of 
people were in the habit of keeping large numbers of 
hens for trade purposes ; these poultry-keepers used 
to be able to tell which hen had laid an egg by merely 

58 looking at it. Nor does that go against us, for we are 
content not to be able to know those eggs apart, 
since to agree that this egg is the same as that egg, 
is nevertheless not the same thing as if there really 
n-ere no distinction between them ; for I possess a 
standard enabhng me to judge presentations to be 
true when they have a character of a sort that false 
ones could not have ; from that standard I may not 
diverge a finger's breadth, as the saying is, lest I 
should cause universal confusion. For not only the 
knowledge but even the nature of true and false will 
be done away with if there is no difference between 
them, so that even the remark that you have a way 
of occasionally making will be absurd — namely, that 
what you assert is not that when presentations are 
impressed on to the mind there is no difference be- 
tween the imprints themselves, but that there is no 
difference between their * species,' or so to say their 
class-forms." As if forsooth presentations were not 
judged wdth reference to their class, and will have 
no rehabihty if the mark of truth and falsehood is 

59 abohshed ! But the height of absurdity is your asser- The logicai 
tion that you follow probabilities if nothing hampers [ht^theory 
you. In the first place how can you be unhampered 13 'suspense 
when there is no difference between true presenta- me^nt.^^ 

T 541 


quod iudicium est veri cum sit commune falsi ? Ex 
his illa necessario nata est e-ox'?. id est adsensionis 
retentio, in qua melius sibi constitit Arcesilas, si vera 
sunt quae de Carneade non nulli existimant. Si 
enim percipi nihil potest quod utrique visum est, 
tollendus adsensus est ; quid enim est tam futtile 
quam quicquam adprobare non cognitum ? Car- 
neadem autem etiam heri audiebamus solitum esse 
eo^ delabi interdum ut diceret opinaturum, id est 
peccaturum, esse sapientem. Mihi porro non tam 
certum est esse aliquid quod comprendi possit (de 
quo iam nimium etiam diu disputo) quam sapientem 
nihil opinari, id est numquam adsentiri rei vel falsae 
60 vel incognitae. Restat illud quod dicunt veri in- 
veniundi causa contra omnia dici oportere et pro 
omnibus. Volo igitur videre quid invenerint. * Non 
solemus,' inquit, ' ostendere.' * Quae sunt tandem 
ista mysteria, aut cur celatis quasi turpe aliquid sen- 
tentiam vestram ? * * Ut qui audient,' inquit, ' ratione 
potius quam auctoritate ducantur.' Quid si utroque^ ? 
num peius est ? Unum tamen illud non celant, 
nihil esse quod percipi possit. An in eo auctoritas 
nihil obest ? Mihi quidem videtur vel plurimum ; 
quis enim ista tam aperte perspicueque et perversa 

^ eo inseruit Davies. 
* utrumque codd. plurimi. 

■ i.e., a suspension of judgement 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xviii. 

tions and false ? next, wliat criterion is therc of a 
true presentation if one criterion belongs in common 
to a true one and a false ? These considerations 
necessarilv engendered the doctrine of epoche^'^ that 
is, ' a holding back of assent,' in which Arcesilas was 
more consistent, if the opinions that some people hold 
about Carneades are true. For if nothing that has 
presented itself to either of them can be perceived, 
assent must be ^^ithheld ; for Mhat is so futile as to 
approve anything that is not known ? But we kept 
being tokl yesterday that Carneades was also in the 
habit of takino^ refuo-e in the assertion that the wise 
man will occasionally hold an opinion, that is, com- 
mit an error. For my part, moreover, certain as I am 
that something exists that can be grasped (the 
point I have been arguing even too long already), I 
am still more certain that the -wase man never holds 
an opinion, that is, never assents to a thing that is 
60 either false or unknown. There remains their state- 
ment that for the discovery of the truth it is necessary 
to argue against all things and for all things. Well 
then, I should hke to see what they have discovered. 

* Oh,' he says, ' it is not our practice to give an 
exposition.' * What pray are these holy secrets of 
yours, or why does your school conceal its doctrine 
hke something disgraceful ? ' * In order,' says he, 

* that our hearers may be guided by reason rather 
than by authority.' Wliat about a combination of 
the two ? is not that as good ? All the same, there 
is one doctrine that they do not conceal — the im- 
possibiHty of perceiving anything. Does authority 
offer no opposition at this point ? To me at all events 
it seems to offer a very great deal ; for who would 
have adopted doctrines so openly and manifestly 



et falsa secutus esset, nisi tanta in Arcesila, multo 
etiam maior in Carneade et copia rerum et dicendi 
vis fuisset ? 

61 XIX. " Haec Antiochus fere et Alexandreae tum 
et multis annis post multo etiam adseverantius, in 
S}Tia cum esset mecum paulo ante quam est mortuus. 
Sed iam confirmata causa te hominem amicissimum " 
— me autem appellabat — " et aliquot annis minorem 
natu non dubitabo monere : Tune, cum tantis laudi- 
bus philosophiam extuleris Hortensiumque nostrum 
dissentientem conmioveris, eam philosophiam sequere 
quae confundit vera cum falsis, spoliat nos iudicio, 
privat adprobatione, omnibus^ orbat sensibus ? Et 
Cimmeriis quidem, quibus aspectum soHs sive deus 
aliquis sive natura ademerat sive eius loci quem in- 
colebant situs, ignes tamen aderant, quorum iUis uti 
lumine hcebat ; isti autem quos tu probas tantis 
offusis tenebris ne scintillam quidem ullam nobis ad 
dispiciendum rehquerunt ; quos si sequamur, iis 
vinchs simus adstricti ut nos commovere nequeamus. 

62 Sublata enim adsensione omnem et motum animorum 
et actionem rerum sustulerunt ; quod non modo recte 
fieri sed omnino fieri non potest. Provide etiam ne 
uni tibi istam sententiam minime hceat defendere ; 
an tu, cum res occultissimas aperueris in lucemque 
protuleris iuratusque dixeris ea te comperisse (quod 

* omni aut omnino edd. 

• The Catihnarian conspiracy, 63 b.c. 

^ Cicero used this expression in the senate, and it became 
a cant phrase with which he was often taunted. 

' A hkely emendation gives ' and it was known to me 


ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xviii. — xix. 

Nvrong-headed and false, unless Arcesilas had pos- 
sessed so great a supply of facts and of eloquence, 
and Carneades an even much greater ? 

61 XIX. " These virtually were the teachings ad- Common 
vanced by Antiochus in Alexandria at the time assumes 
mentioned, and also even much more dogmatically the 
many years afterwards when he was staying with me o^tfnow-' 
in Syria a httle before his death. But now that my '^'^»®- 
case is estabhshed, I will not hesitate to give some 
advice to you as a very dear friend " — he was address- 

ing myself — " and a person some years my junior : 
Will you, who have lauded philosophy so highly, and 
have shaken our friend Hortensius in his disagreement 
with you, follow a system of philosophy that con- 
founds the true ^\1th the false, robs us of judgement, 
despoils us of the power of approval, deprives us of 
all our senses ? Even the people of Cimmeria, whom 
some god, or nature, or the geographical position of 
their abode, had deprived of the sight of the sun, 
nevertheless had fires, which they were able to employ 
for hght ; but the individuals whose authority you 
accept have so beclouded us ^vith darkness that they 
have not left us a single spark of hght to give us a 
ghmpse of sight ; and if we followed them, we should 
be fettered with chains that would prevent our being 

62 able to move a step. For by doing away with assent 
they have done away with all movement of the mind 
and also all physical activity ; which is not only a 
mistake but an absolute impossibihty. Be careful 
too that you are not the one person for whom it is 
most iUegitimate to uphold this theory of yours ; 
what, when it was you who exposed and brought 
to Uffht a deeply hidden plot ° and said on oath that 
you knew about it ' * (which I might have said to 3, 



mihi quoque licebat^ qui ex te illa cognoveram), 
negabis esse rem ullam quae cognosci comprendi per- 
cipi possit ? Vide quaeso etiam atque etiam ne 
illarum quoque rerum pulcherrimarum a te ipso 
minuatur auctoritas." Quae cum dixisset ille, finem 
63 Hortensius autem vehementer admirans, quod 
quidem perpetuo Lucullo loquente fecerat, ut etiam 
manus saepe tolleret (nec mirum, nam numquam 
arbitror contra Academiam dictum esse subtihus),me 
quoque iocansne an ita sentiens (non enim satis in- 
tehegebam) coepit hortari ut sententia desisterem. 
Tum mihi Catulus, " Si te," inquit, " Luculh oratio 
flexit, quae est habita memoriter accurate copiose, 
taceo, neque te quo minus si tibi ita videatur sen- 
tentiam mutes deterrendum puto. Illud vero non 
censuerim ut eius auctoritate moveare, tantum enim 
te non modo monuit," inquit adridens, " ut caveres 
ne quis improbus tribunus plebis, quorum vides 
quanta copia semper futura sit, arriperet te et in 
contione quaereret qui tibi constares cum idem 
negares quicquam certi posse reperiri, idem te com- 
perisse dixisses. Hoc quaeso cave ne te terreat ; 
de causa autem ipsa mahm quidem te ab hoc dissen- 
tire, sin cesseris non magnopere mirabor, memini 
enim Antiochum ipsum, cum annos multos aha sen- 

^ hquebat Klotz, 

ACADEMICA, 11. (Lucullus), xix. 

having learnt about it from you), will you assert 
that there is no fact whatever that can be learnt 
and comprehended and perceived ? Pray take 
care again and again that you may not yourself 
cause the authority of that most glorious achieve- 
ment also to be diminished." Having said this, 
he ended. 
3 Hortensius however, indicating emphatic admira- 
tion, as he had in fact done all through Lucullus's 
discourse, frequently even raising his hands in 
wonder (and that was not surprising, for I do not 
think the case against the Academy had ever been 
argued with more minute precision), began to exhort 
me also, whether in jest or earnest (for I could not 
quite make out), to abandon my opinion. There- 
upon Catulus said to me, " If Lucullus's speech has 
w^on you over — and its dehvery showed memory, con- 
centration and fluency — , I am silent, and I do not 
think you ought to be frightened away from changing 
your opinion if you think fit to do so. But I should 
not advise your letting his authority influence you ; 
for he all but warned you just now," he said with a 
smile at me, " to be on your guard lest some Micked 
tribune of the people — and what a plentiful supply 
there ^\ill always be of them you are well aware — 
should arraign you, and cross-examine you in a pubhc 
assembly as to your consistency in both denying the 
possibihty of finding anything certain and asserting 
that you had discovered some certainty. Pray don't 
be alarmed by this ; but as to the actual merits of 
the case, although I should it is true prefer you to 
disagree with him, if you give in I shall not be greatly 
surprised, for I remember that Antiochus himself in 
spite of having held other views for a number of 



sisset, simul ac visum sit, sententia destitisse." 
Haec cum dixisset Catulus, me omnes intueri. 

64 XX. Tum ego, non minus commotus quam soleo in 
causis maioribus, huius modi quandam orationem^ 
sum exorsus. " Me, Catule, oratio Luculli de ipsa re 
ita movit ut docti hominis et copiosi et parati et nihil 
praetereuntis eorum quae pro illa causa dici possent, 
non tamen ut ei respondere posse diffiderem ; auc- 
toritas autem tanta plane me movebat, nisi tu op- 
posuisses non minorem tuam. Adgrediar igitur, si 

65 pauca ante quasi de fama mea dixero. Ego enim si 
aut ostentatione ahqua adductus aut studio certandi 
ad hanc potissimum philosophiam me adplicavi, non 
modo stultitiam meam sed etiam mores et naturam 
condemnandam puto. Nam si in minimis rebus per- 
tinacia reprehenditur, calumnia etiam coercetur, ego 
de omni statu consilioque totius vitae aut certare 
cum ahis pugnaciter aut frustrari cum alios tum 
etiam me ipsum vehm ? Itaque, nisi ineptum puta- 
rem in tali disputatione id facere quod cum de re 
pubhca disceptatur fieri interdum solet, iurarem per 
lovem deosque penates me et ardere studio veri 

66 reperiendi et ea sentire quae dicerem. Qui enim 
possum non cupere verum invenire, cum gaudeam si 

* LambiniLS : quadam oratione codd. 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xix.— xx. 

years abandoned his opinion as soon as he saw fit." 
After these words from Catulus, everybody looked 
towards me. 

64 XX. Thereupon I, feehng quite as nervous as I Cicero 
usually do when I have a specially big case on, began !ie?ence'of 
what was almost a set speech on the following Unes. scepticism 
" For my part, Catulus, Lucu]lus's speech on the 
actual merits of the issue has affected me as that of a 
scholarly, fluent and well-equipped person who passes 

by none of the arguments that can be advanced in 
support of the case put forward, though all the same 
not to the point of my distrusting my abihty to 
answer him ; yet his great authority was unquestion- 
ably working upon me, had you not set against it 
your authority which is no smaller. I will therefore 
set about it, after a few prehminary remarks on the 
subject of my own reputation, if I may use the term. 

65 For if my own motive in choosing this particular (i) Pre- 
school of philosophy for my adherence was some I^^J^qI,^ 
sort of ostentation or combativeness, I consider that desire for 
not merely my folly but even my moral character *™ ^* 
deserves condemnation. For if in the most trifling 
matters we censure obstinacy and actually punish 
chicanery, am I hkely to want either to join battle 

\\ ith others for the sake of fighting, or to deceive not 
only others but myself also, when the entire system 
and principle of the whole of hfe is the issue ? 
Accordingly unless I thought it foohsh in such a 
discussion to do what is customary occasionally in 
pohtical controversy, I should swear by Jove and the 
fiods of my household that I am fired with zeal for 
the discovery of the truth, and that I really hold the 

66 opinions that I am stating. For how can I fail to be 
eager for the discovery of truth, when I rejoice if I 



simile veri quid invenerim ? Sed, ut hoc pulcherri- 
mnm esse iudico, vera videre, sic pro veris probare 
falsa turpissimum est. Nec tamen ego is sum qui 
nihil umquam falsi adprobem, qui numquam ad- 
sentiar, qui nihil opiner, sed quaerimus de sapiente. 
Ego vero ipse et magnus quidem sum opinator (non 
enim sum sapiens) et meas cogitationes sic derigo, 
non ad illam parvulam Cynosuram qua 

fidunt duce nocturna Phoenices in alto, 

ut ait Aratus, eoque derectius gubernant quod eam 
tenent quae 

cursu interiore brevi convertitur orbe, 
sed HeHcen et clarissimos Septemtriones, id est ra- 
tiones has latiore^ specie, non ad tenue eUmatas. Eo 
fit ut errem et vager latius ; sed non de me, ut dixi, 
sed de sapiente quaeritur. Visa enim ista cum acriter 
mentem sensumve pepulerunt accipio, iisque inter- 
dum etiam adsentior (nec percipio tamen, nihil enim 
arbitror posse percipi) — non sum sapiens, itaque visis 
cedo neque possum resistere ; sapientis autem hanc 
censet Arcesilas vim esse maximam, Zenoni adsen- 
tiens, cavere ne capiatur, ne fallatur videre — nihil est 
enim ab ea cogitatione quam habemus de gravitate 

^ latiores ? Reid. 

<• The word opinator is coined to suit the pretended self- 
depreciation of the speaker. 

*• See N.D. ii. 104 n., 106 : Cicero quotes his own 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xx. 

have discovered something that resembles truth ? 
But just as I deem it supremely honourable to hokl 
true views, so it is supremely disgraceful to approve 
falsehoods as true. And nevertheless I myself am 
not the sort of person never to give approval to any- 
thing false, never give absolute assent, never hold 
an opinion ; it is the ^vise man that we are investi- 
gating. For my own part however, although I am 
a great opinion-holder '^ (for I am not a wise man), 
at the same time the way in which I steer my think- 
ing is not by that tiny star, the Cynosure, in which 

Phoenicians place their trust by night 
To guide them on the deep, 

as Aratus ^ puts it, and steer the straighter because 
they keep to her who 

revolves upon 
An inner circle and an orbit brief, 

but by HeUce and the resplendent Septentriones, 
that is, by these theories of wider aspect, not fined 
do^vn and over-subtihzed. The result is that I 
roam and wander more widely ; but it is not I, as I 
said, but the wise man that is the subject of our 
inquiry. For when the presentations you talk of 
have struck my mind or my sense sharply I accept 
them, and sometimes I actually give assent to them 
(though nevertheless I do not perceive them, for I 
hold that nothing can be perceived) — I am not a 
wise man, and so I yield to presentations and cannot 
stand out against them ; whereas the strongest 
point of the wise man, in the opinion of Arcesilas, 
agreeing with Zeno, hes in avoiding being taken in 
and in seeing that he is not deceived — for nothing is 
more removed from the conception that we have of 



sapientis errore, levitate, temeritate diiunctius. 
Quid igitur loquar de firmitate sapientis ? quem 
quidem nihil opinari tu quoque, Luculle, concedis. 
Quod quoniam a te probatur (ut praepostere tecum 
agam ; mox referam me ad ordinem), haec primum 

67 conclusio quam habeat \im considera : XXI. ' Si ulli 
rei sapiens adsentietur umquam, ahquando etiam 
opinabitur ; numquam autem opinabitur ; nulli 
igitur rei adsentietur.' Hanc conckisionem Arcesilas 
probabat, confirmabat enim et primum et secundura 
(Carneades non numquam secundum illud dabat, ad- 
sentiri aliquando : ita sequebatur etiam opinari, quod 
tu non vis, et recte, ut mihi videris). Sed illud 
primum, sapientem si adsensurus esset etiam opina- 
turum, falsum esse et Stoici dicunt et eorum adstipu- 
lator Antiochus ; posse enim eum falsa a veris et quae 
non possint percipi ab iis quae possint distinguere. 

68 Nobis autem primum, etiam si quid percipi possit, 
tamen ipsa consuetudo adsentiendi periculosa esse 
videtur et lubrica, quam ob rem, cum tam vitiosum 
esse constet adsentiri quicquam aut falsum aut in- 
cognitum, sustinenda est potius omnis adsensio, ne 
praecipitet si temere processerit ; ita enim finitima 
sunt falsa veris eaque quae percipi non possunt eis 
quae possunt^ (si modo ea sunt quaedam : iam enim 
videbimus) ut tam in praecipitem locum non debeat 
se sapiens committere. Sin autem omnino nihil esse 
quod percipi possit a me sumpsero et quod tu mihi 

* eis quae possunt inseruit Reid. 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xx.— xxi. 

the dignity of the wise man than error, frivolity or 
rashness. What then shall I say about the wise 
man's firmness ? even you, Lucullus, allow that he 
never advances a mere opinion. And since you 
agree with this (to deal with you out of turn : I \vi\\ 
soon return to a regular procedure), consider first 

67 the vahdity of this syllogism : XXI. ' If the wise man Thedariit 
ever assents to anyfhing, he will sometimes also form ^^'^^^^'^^- 
an opinion ; but he never ^vill form an opinion ; 
therefore he will not assent to anything.' This 
syllogism Arcesilas used to approve, for he used to 
accept both the major premiss and the minor (Car- 
neades used sometimes to grant as minor premiss that 

the wise man sometimes assents, so that it followed 
that he also holds an opinion, which you will not allow, 
and rightly, as I think). But the major premiss, that 
if the wise man did assent he would also hold an 
opinion, both the Stoics and their supporter Antiochus 
declare to be false, arguing that the wise man is 
able to distinguish the false from the true and the 

68 imperceptible from the perceptible. But in our 

' view, in the first place, even if anything could be , 
perceived, nevertheless the mere habit of assent- 
ing appears dangerous and shppery, and therefore 
since it is agreed that to give assent to anything 
that is either false or unknown is so serious a fault, 
preferably all assent is to be withheld, to avoid having 
a serious fall if one goes forward rashly ; for things 
false he so close to things true, and things that cannot 
be perceived to things that can (assuming there are 
such things, which we shall see soon), that it is the 
duty of the \\Tise man not to trust himself to such a 
steep slope. But if on the contrary I assume on my 
own authority that there is nothing at all that can be 



das accepero, sapientem nihil opinari, effectuni illud 
erit, sapientem adsensus omnes cohibiturum, ut 
videndum tibi sit idne malis an aliquid opinaturum 
esse sapientem. ' Neutrum,' inquies, ' illorum/ 
Nitamur igitur nihil posse percipi ; etenim de eo 
omnis est controversia. 

69 XXII. " Sed prius pauca cum Antiocho, qui haec 
ipsa quae a me defenduntur et didicit apud Philonem 
tam diu ut constaret diutius didicisse neminem, et 
scripsit de his rebus acutissime, et idem haec non 
acrius accusavit in senectute quam antea defensita- 
verat. Quamvis igitur fuerit acutus, ut fuit, tamen 
inconstantia levatur auctoritas. Quis enim iste dies 
inluxerit quaero qui illi ostenderit eam quam multos 
annos esse negitavisset veri et falsi notam. Excogi- 
tavit aliquid ? Eadem dicit quae Stoici. Paenituit 
illa sensisse ? Cur non se transtuht ad aHos, et 
maxime ad Stoicos ? eorum enim erat propria ista dis- 
sensio. Quid ? eum Mnesarchi paenitebat ? quid ? 
Dardani ? qui erant Athenis tum principes Stoicorum. 
Numquam a Philone discessit, nisi postea quam ipse 

70 coepit qui se audirent habere. Unde autem subito 
vetus Academia revocata est ? Nominis dignitatem 


ACADEMICA, 11. (Lucullus), xxi.— xxii. 

perceived, and accept your admission that the wise 
man forms no opinion, this will prove that the \nse 
man %\ill restrain all acts of assent, so that you will 
have to consider whether you prefer this view or the 
view that the wise man will hold some opinion. 
* Neither of those views,' you will say. Let us there- 
fore stress the point that nothing can be perceived, 
for it is on that that all the controversy turns. 

69 XXIL " But first let us have a few words with Anti- fj"^^^ 
ochus, who studied under Philo the very doctrines K^mintT. 
that I am championing for such a long time that it 

was agreed that nobody had studied them longer, 
and who also wrote upon these subjects with the 
greatest penetration, and who nevertheless in his old 
age denounced this system, not more keenly than he 
had pre\iously been in the habit of defending it. 
Although therefore he may have been penetrating, 
as indeed he was, nevertheless lack of constancy does 
diminish the weight of authorlty. For I am curious to 
know the exact date of the day whose da\\Tiing light 
revealed to him that mark of truth and falsehood 
which he had for many years been in the habit of 
denying. Did he think out something original ? His 
pronouncements are the same as those of the Stoics. 
Did he become dissatisfied with his former opinions ? 
Why did he not transfer himself to another school, 
and most of all why not to the Stoics ? for that dis- 
agreement with Philo was the special tenet of the 
Stoic school. What, was he dissatisfied with Mnes- 
archus ? or with Dardanus ? they were the leaders 
of the Stoics at Athens at the time. He never quitted 
Philo, except after he began to have an audience of 

70 his own. I3ut why this sudden revival of the Old 
Academy ? It is thought that he wanted to retain 



videtur, cum a re ipsa descisceret, retinere voluisse— 
quod erant qui illum gloriae causa facere dicerent, 
sperare etiam ut ii qui se sequerentur Antiochii 
vocarentur. Mihi autem magis videtur non potuisse 
sustinere concursum omnium philosophorum (etenim 
de ceteris sunt inter illos non nulla communia, haec 
Academicorum est una sententia quam reliquorum 
philosophorum nemo probet) ; itaque cessit, et, ut 
ii qui sub Novis solem non ferunt, item ille cum ae- 
stuaret veterum ut Maenianorum sic Academicorum 
71 umbram secutus est. Quoque solebat uti argumento 
tum cum ei placebat nihil possepercipi,cumquaereret, 
Dionysius ille Heracleotes utrum comprehendisset 
certa illa nota qua adsentiri dicitis oportere — illudne 
quod multos annos tenuisset Zenonique magistro 
credidisset, honestum quod esset id bonum solum 
esse, an quod postea defensitavisset, honesti inane 
nomen esse, voluptatem esse summum bonum ? — qui 
ex ilHus commutata sententia docere vellet nihil ita 
signari in animis nostris a vero posse quod non eodem 
modo posset a falso, is curavit quod argumentum ex 
Dionysio ipse sumpsisset ex eo ceteri sumerent. Sed 
cum hoc aho loco plura, nunc ad ea quae a te, Luculle, 
dicta sunt. 

* Novae Tabernae, a row of silversmiths' and money- 
changers' booths skirting the Forum. 

* Timber balconies added to shops round the Forum, to 
accommodate spectators at the games. Maenius was consul 
338 B.c. 

* Antiochus had refuted the doctrine that truth can be 
discerned because it commands the instinctive assent of the 
mind by pointing out that a prominent exponent of this 
doctrine had at different times assented to two contradictory 
opinions. Yet he himself later on underwent an equally 
violent change of opinion. 


ACADEMICA, 11. (Lucullus), xxii. 

the dignity of the name in spite of abandoning the 
reahty — for in fact some persons did aver that his 
motive was ostentation, and even that he hoped that 
his follo\\ing would be styled the School of Antiochus. 
But I am more inclined to think that he was unable 
to withstand the united attack of all the philosophers 
(for although they have certain things in common on 
all other subjects, this is the one doctrine of the 
Academics that no one of the other schools approves) ; 
and accordingly he gave way, and, just like people 
who cannot bear the sun under the New Row," took 
refuge from the heat in tlie shade of the Old Academy, 
71 as they do in the shadow of the Balconies.^ And as 
to the argument that he was in the habit of employing 
at the period when he held that nothing could be 
perceived, which consisted in asking which of his two 
doctrines had the famous Dionysius of Heraclea 
grasped by means of that unmistakable mark which 
according to your school ought to be the foundation 
of assent — the doctrine that he had held for many 
years and had accepted on the authority of his master 
Zeno, that only the morally honourable is good, or 
the doctrine that he had made a practice of defending 
afterwards, that morality is an empty name, and that 
the supreme good is pleasure ? — in spite of Antiochus's 
attempt to prove from Dionysius's change of opinion 
that no impression can be printed on our minds by a 
true presentation of a character that cannot also be 
caused by a false one, he yet ensured that the 
argument which he himself had drawn from Dionysius 
should be drawn by everybody else from himself." 
But with him I will deal more at length else- 
where ; I turn now, Lucullus, to what was said by 



72 XXIII. ** Et primum quod initio dixisti videamus 
quale sit, similiter a nobis de antiquis philosophis 
commemorari atque seditiosi solerent claros viros sed 
tamen populares aUquos nominare. IUi cum res 
non^ bonas tractent, similes bonorum videri volunt ; 
nos autem ea dicimus nobis videri quae vosmet ipsi 
nobihssimis philosophis placuisse conceditis. Anax- 
agoras nivem nigram dixit esse : ferres me si ego 
idem dicerem ? tu ne si dubitarem quidem. At quis 
est hic ? num sophistes (sic enim appellabantur ii qui 
ostentationis aut quaestus causa philosophabantur) ? 

73 Maxima fuit et gravitatis et ingenii gloria. Quid 
loquar de Democrito ? Quem cum eo conferre possu- 
mus non modo ingenii magnitudine sed etiam animi, 
qui ita sit ausus ordiri, ' Haec loquor de universis ' ? 
nihil excipit de quo non profiteatur, quid enim esse 
potest extra universa ? Quis hunc philosophum 
non anteponit Cleanthi Chrysippo rehquis inferioris 
aetatis, qui mihi cum illo collati quintae classis 
videntur ? Atque is non hoc dicit quod nos, qui veri 
esse ahquid non negamus, percipi posse negamus ; 
ille verum plane negat esse ; sensusque idem^ non 
obscuros dicit sed tenebricosos — sic enim appellat 

^ non inseruit Ascensius. 
2 Reid : sensus quidem codd. 

" § 13. 

^ Apparently he argued that black was the real colour 
of snow because snow is water and water of very great depth 
is very dark in colour. 

'^ Sextus, Adversus MatJiematicos vii. ^65 A-qfMdKpiTos 6 ry 
Aibs (ji'j)v^ TrapeLKa^o/Jievos Kai Xeywv " Ta8e irepl twv ^v/xTrdvTwv.''^ 

<* This proverbial expression, derived from the classifica- 
tion of the population ascribed to King Servius Tullius, 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xxiii, 

72 XXIII. " And first let us see what we are to make (2) Repiy to 
ot your remark at the begimiing,^ that our way of first 
recaUing ancient philosopliers was hke the sedition- ^[S^J.'- ' 
mongers' habit of putting forward the names of per- sophera are 
sons who are men of distinction but yet of popular scepticaL 
leanings. Those people although they have unworthy 
designs in hand desire to appear like men of worth ; 

and we in our turn declare that the views we hold 
are ones that you yourselves admit to have been 
approved by the noblest of philosophers. Anaxagoras 
said ^ that snow is black : would you endure me if 
I said the same ? Not you, not even if I expressed 
myself as doubtful. But who is this Anaxagoras ? 
surely not a sophist (for that is the name that used 
to be given to people \vho pursued philosophy for 
the sake of display or profit) ? Why, he was a man 

73 of the highest renown for dignity and intellect. Why 
should I talk about Democritus ? Whom can we com- 
pare for not only greatness of intellect but also great- 
aess of soul, with one who dared to begin, ' These 
are my utterances about the universe ' ^ ? — he excepts 
nothing as not covered by his pronouncement, for 
what can be outside the universe ? Who does not 
place this philosopher before Cleanthes or Chrysippus 
or the rest of the later period, who compared with 
him seem to me to belong to the fifth class ^ ? And 
he does not mean what we mean, who do not deny 
that some truth exists but deny that it can be per- 
ceived ; he flatly denies that truth exists at all ; and 
at the same time says that the senses are (not dim 
but) ' fuU of darkness ' * — for that is the term he uses 

occurs here only. Horace, Sat. i. 11. 47, has * in classe 
secunda ' of ' second-class ' merchandise. 



eos. Is qui hiinc maxime est admiratus, Chius Metro 
dorus, initio libri qui est de natura, ' Nego ' inquit 
* scire nos sciamusne ahquid an nihil sciamus, ne id 
ipsum quidem, nescire (aut scire), scire nos, nec 

74 omnino sitne ahquid an nihil sit.' Furere tibi 
Empedocles videtur, at mihi dignissimum rebus iis 
de quibus loquitur sonum fundere ; num ergo is 
excaecat nos aut orbat sensibus si parum magnam 
vim censet in iis esse ad ea quae sub eos subiecta sunt 
iudicanda ? Parmenides, Xenophanes, minus bonis 
quamquam versibus sed tamen ilH^ versibus, increpant 
eorum adrogantiam quasi irati, qui cum sciri nihil 
possit audeant se scire dicere. Et ab eis aiebas re- 
movendum Socraten et Platonem. Cur ? an de ulhs 
certius possum dicere ? vixisse cum iis equidem 
\ideor : ita multi sermones perscripti sunt e quibus 
dubitari non possit quin Socrati nihil sit visum sciri 
posse ; excepit unum tantum, scire se nihil se scire, 
nihil amphus. Quid dicam de Platone ? qui certe 
tam multis hbris haec persecutus non esset nisi proba- 
visset, ironiam enim alterius, perpetuam praesertim, 

75 nuha fuit ratio persequi. XXIV. Videorne tibi non 
ut Saturninus nominare modo inlustres homines, sed 
etiam imitari numquam nisi clarum, nisi nobilem ? 
Atqui habebam molestos vobis, sed minutos, Stil- 

^ iWis, nonnulli codd. 
~ « See § 14. " Ibid. 


ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xxiii. — xxiv. 

tbr them. His greatest admirer, the Chian Metro- 
dorus, at the beginning of his volume 0?i Nature says : 
I deny that we know whether we know something 
or know nothing, and even that we know the mere 
fact that we do not know (or do know), or know at 

74 all whether something exists or nothing exists.' You 
think that Empedocles raves,^ but I think that he 
sends forth an utterance most suited to the dignity 
of the subject of which he is speaking ; surely there- 
fore he is not making us bhnd or depriving us of our 
senses if he holds the opinion that they do not possess 
sufficient force to enable them to judge the objects 
that are submitted to them ? Parmenides and 
Xenophanes — in less good verse it is true but all 
the same it is verse — inveiofh almost anffrily as^ainst 
the arrogance of those who dare to say that they 
know, seeing that nothing can be known. Also you 
said ^ that Socrates and Plato must not be classed 
with them. Why ? can I speak with more certain 
knowledge about any persons ? I seem to have 
actually Uved with them, so many dialogues have 
been put in writing which make it impossible to doiibt 
that Socrates held that nothing can be known ; he 
made only one exception, no more — he said that he 
did know that he knew nothing. Why should I speak 
about Plato ? he certainly would not have set out 
these doctrines in so many volumes if he had not 
accepted them, for otherwise there was no sense in 
setting out the irony of the other master, especially 

75 as it was unending. XXIV. Do you agree that I do 
not merely cite the names of persons of renown, as 
Saturninus did, but invariably take some famous and 
di-tinguished thinker as my model ? Yet I had avail- 
able philosophers who give trouble to your school, 


ponem Diodorum Alexinum, quorum sunt contorta 
et aculeata quaedam sophismata (sic enim appellantur 
fallaces conclusiunculae) ; sed quid eos colligam cum 
habeam Chrysippum, qui fulcire putatur porticum 
Stoicorum ? Quam multa ille contra sensus, quam 
multa contra omnia quae in consuetudine probantur ! 
At dissolvit idem. Mihi quidem non videtur ; sed 
dissolverit sane : certe tam multa non collegisset 
quae nos fallerent probabiHtate magna nisi videret 

76 iis resisti non facile posse. Quid Cyrenaici tibi^ 
videntur, minime contempti philosophi ? qui negant 
esse quicquam quod percipi possit extrinsecus : ea se 
sola percipere quae tactu intumo sentiant, ut dolorem, 
ut voluptatem, neque se quo quid colore aut quo sono 
sit scire sed tantum sentire adfici se quodam modo. 

" Satis multa de auctoribus — quamquam ex me 
quaesieras nonne putarem post illos veteres tot 
saecuhs inveniri verum potuisse tot ingeniis tantis^ 
studiis quaerentibus. Quid inventum sit paulo post 
videro, te ipso quidem iudice. Arcesilan vero non 
obtrectandi causa cum Zenone pugnavisse, sed verum 

77 invenire voluisse sic intehegitur. Nemo umquam su- 
periorum non modo expresserat sed ne dixerat quidem 
^ tibi inseruit Durand. ^ tantis ? Reid : tantisque codd, 

" The Stoa Poikile at Athens, the meeting-place of the 
school, which took its name from it. 

* In § 16. 

ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xxiv. 

calthoiigh they are petty in their method, Stilpo, 
Diodorus, Alexinus, the authors of certain tortuous 
and pungent sophismata (as the term is for Uttle syllo- 
gistic traps) ; but why should I bring in them, when 
I have Chrysippus, supposed to be a buttress of the 
Stoics' Colonnade ^* ? What a number of arguments 
he produced against the senses, and against every- 
thing that is approved in common expcrience ! But 
he also refuted those arguments, you will say. For 
my own part I don't think that he did ; but suppose 
he did refute them, yet undoubtedly he would not 
have collected so many arguments to take us in with 
their great probabihty if he had not been aware that 

76 they could not easily be wlthstood. What do you 
think of the Cyrenaics, by no means despicable 
philosophers ? they maintain that nothing external 
to themselves is perceptible, and that the only things 
that they do perceive are the sensations due to in- 
ternal contact, for example pain and pleasure, and 
that they do not know that a thing has a particular 
colour or sound but only feel that they are themselves 
affected in a certain manner. 

" Enough about authority — although you had put (3)Scepti- 
the question ^ to me whether I did not think that go™ ^"5"°'^' 
with so many able minds carrying on the search with uncertainty 
such zealous energy, after so many ages since the old tfon!'^^^^ 
philosophers mentioned, the truth might possibly 
have been discovered. What actually has been dis- 
covered permit me to consider a little later, with you 
yourself indeed as umpire. But that Arcesilas did 
not do battle with Zeno merely for the sake of criticiz- 
ing him, but really wished to discover the truth, is 

77 gathered from what foUows. That it is possible for 
a human being to hold no opinions, and not only 



posse hominem nihil opinari, nec solum posse sed 
ita necesse esse sapienti ; visa est Arcesilae cum vera 
sententia tum honesta et digna sapiente. Quaesivit 
de Zenone fortasse quid futurum esset si nec percipere 
quicquam posset sapiens nec opinari sapientis esset. 
Ille, credo, nihil opinaturum quoniam esset quod 
percipi pcsset. Quid ergo id esset ? Visum, credo. 
Quale igitur visum ? Tum illum ita definisse, ex eo 
quod esset, sicut esset, impressum et signatum et 
effictum. Post requisitum, etiamne si eiusdem modi 
esset visum verum quale vel falsum. Hic Zenonem 
vidisse acute nullum esse visum quod percipi posset, 
si id tale esset ab eo quod est ut eiusdem modi ab eo 
quod non est posset esse. Recte consensit Arcesilas 
ad definitionem additum, neque enim falsum percipi 
posse neque verum si esset tale quale vel falsum ; 
incubuit autem in eas disputationes ut doceret nullum 
tale esse visum a vero ut non eiusdem modi etiam a 
78 falso possit esse. Haec est una contentio quae adhuc 
permanserit. Nam illud, nulU rei adsensumm esse 


ACADEMICA, II. (Lucullus), xxiv. 

tliat it is possible but that it is the duty of the wise 
man, had not only never been distinctly formulated 
but had never even been stated by any of his pre- 
decessors ; but Arcesilas deemed this view both true 
and also honourable and worthy of a wise man. We 
may suppose him putting the question to Zeno, what 
Mould happen if the Mise man was unable to perceive 
anything and if also it was the mark of the wise man 
not to form an opinion. Zeno no doubt replied that 
the wise man's reason for abstaining from forming 
an opinion would be that there was something that 
could be perceived. What then was this ? asked 
Arcesilas. A presentation, was doubtless the answer. 
Then what sort of a presentation ? Hereupon no 
doubt Zeno defined it as follows, a presentation im- 
pressed and sealed and moulded from a real object, 
in conformity with its reahty. There followed the 
further question, did this hold good even if a true 
presentation was of exactly the same form as a false 
one ? At this I imagine Zeno was sharp enough to 
see that if a presentation proceeding from a real 
thing was of such a nature that one proceeding from 
a non-existent thing could be of the same form, there 
was no presentation that could be perceived. Ar- 
cesilas agreed that this addition to the definition was 
correct, for it was impossible to perceive either a false 
presentation or a true one if a true one had such a 
character as even a false onc might have ; but he 
pressed the points at issue further in order to show 
that no presentation proceeding from a true object 
is such that a presentation proceeding from a false 
78 one might not also be of the same form. This is ihe 
one argument that has hek